An orca calf swims alongside its mother. (Jared Towers)

Feds limit chinook fishery to help killer whale recovery

Chinook is main food source for only 76 southern residents killer whales left

The federal government is closing some recreational and commercial chinook fisheries on the West Coast in an effort to help save endangered southern resident killer whales.

Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc says a lack of prey for the whales is one of the critical factors affecting their recovery.

Southern residents inhabit the waters from south and central Vancouver Island all the way to northern California where they hunt for the salmon.

There are just 76 of the whales left and LeBlanc says in a news release that a reduction in the total chinook fishery of 25 to 35 per cent will help conserve the orca’s main food source.

A department news release says the closures would be in the Juan de Fuca Strait and around portions of the Gulf Islands.

There will also be partial closures at the mouth of the Fraser River to protect key foraging areas for the whales.

READ MORE: No fish zones eyed to save killer whales along south coast

The government announced that over $9.5 million will be spent on eight projects across B.C. to help restore chinook salmon habitat.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says the species faces imminent threats to its survival and recovery, and the government needs to take concrete action.

“These iconic and awe-inspiring whales are cherished by Canadians across the country and visitors alike, and protecting them is essential to keeping our oceans healthy and dynamic — not just for today, but to ensure we leave a rich natural legacy to our kids and grandkids,” she said.

The population, which is made up of three separate pods, was diminished significantly in the 1960s and ’70s when about 47 of the whales were captured and relocated to aquariums. Previous studies have found that acoustic and physical disturbances, along with pollution also play a role in threatening the population.

The Fisheries Department says the whales are listed as an endangered species in both Canada and the United States.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Community and collaboration drive Binche Fishing Derby

Family time, forward thinking and positive initiatives to be highlighted

Dr. Paul Stent awarded Key to the Community

On June 4, local physician Dr. Paul Stent was presented with the… Continue reading

Audit finds Canfor did not comply with bridge maintenance legislation

Per a news release issued by the Forest Practices board, an independent… Continue reading

Tenth B.C. Justice Summit continues dialogue on Indigenous justice

Per an information bulletin courtesy of the Ministry of Attorney General and… Continue reading

Fort St. James Taekwon Do enjoys success at provincials

The Fort St. James Family Taekwon Do team has achieved enormous success… Continue reading

Trudeau, Horgan condemn controversial U.S. child migrant policy

Premier John Horgan said B.C. ‘will always stand up for the values’ of diversity and inclusion

Canucks host all-inclusive birthday party for B.C. kids with autism

Such invitations are rare for some kids with autism, and one B.C. family knows the feeling

Heat records broken across B.C. as weather warning lifts

Thirteen records broken across B.C. on Tuesday

Alt-ed program brings mindfulness to the classroom

B.C. school leading the way in anxiety reduction strategies

Streaking fan levelled by BC Lions player hires lawyer

Toronto-based firm says the fan suffered injuries including a ‘mild traumatic brain injury’

Person involved in B.C. crash must wait longer to get their blood back

Judge extends blood seizure order as police conduct Surrey impaired driving investigation

Province expected to extend fish farm licenses another 4 years

An announcement on future of 20 fish farms off B.C. coast coming Wednesday afternoon

Humboldt survivors to attend NHL Awards

Players say it’s a blessing to be back together again

Justice minister: marijuana still illegal for now

Driving under the influence of drugs has always been — and will remain — against the law

Most Read