Today, Sept 26th, 2018, a public Webex webinar was held by the DFO to discuss the “DFO Species at Risk Program: Proposed Amended Recovery Strategy for Northern and Southern Resident Killers Whales”. The presentation of the slides took about an hour, which left another hour for participant questions. We counted only 33 people (other than the DFO) logged in on the WebEx platform, and another 5 people mentioned they came in by phone only. We couldn’t verify this was the total participation, but these numbers were publicly seen in the event’s interface. As far as we know, we were the only press in attendance.
Needless to say, the issues of the mortality of the Resident Killer Whales, especially the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) has made significant headlines in 2018, including the sport fishing closures as we discussed in June. For the media and the general population, ‘saving the whales’ is most certainly a cause worthy of discussion and of course, action.
While public commenting is still open, there’s been growing concern that the West Coast of Vancouver Island’s economy could face a crushing blow with the closure that is being proposed.
The DFO presented a case (slide deck available here), that there is enough data to justify that a closure of Swiftsure Bank and La Perouse Bank to sports fishing.
Many on the webinar questioned the validity and the relevancy of the data. An example was brought up that naval detonations and exercises in the area, or commercial crabbing boats would produce more acoustic detriment to the SRKW than a small boat anchored with engines off while sport fishing for halibut, ever could.
We may be “preaching to the choir” with an article like this on our website, but the challenge to educate people outside of the fishing community on the nuances of the decision-making process, and the impact of the outcome is very real, and time is running out.
There are two in-person meetings remaining for these discussions as outlined in the notice from the DFO. Will you be there? You will need to register in advance.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Parks Canada Agency (PCA) are pleased to notify you of the following information sessions regarding the proposed amendments to the Recovery Strategy for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Canada.
The amended Recovery Strategy includes identification of two additional areas as proposed critical habitat for Resident Killer Whales following recent science advice, as well as clarification of the features, functions and attributes for proposed and existing critical habitat. The proposed amended Recovery Strategy is currently posted on the Species at Risk Public Registry, and public input is being sought on Section 7 (Critical habitat) of the document for a 60-day comment period (September 4 – November 3, 2018). Input is sought via the above link or through the regional SARA program (contact info below).
The purpose of the information sessions is to provide information about the proposed critical habitat for Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales, including the description of the science advice underlying the identification of the additional proposed critical habitat areas, and to answer questions about the proposed amendments to the document.
Please RSVP via email to [email protected] to attend either the webinar or the in-person information sessions with your name, organization, email address, phone number, and number of participants.
Regional in-person meetings:
Wednesday, October 3rd 2018, 6-9 pm
Best Western Barclay Hotel, 4277 Stamp Ave.
Thursday, October 4th 2018, 6-9 pm
Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, Ballroom, 596 Marine Drive
The Sports Fishing Institute of BC has built a considerable resource of information on the Resident Killer Whales including the issues, links to resources and well as recommendations as recently published in their Sept 17th, 2018 newsletter.
For sending comments to the DFO, emails can be sent to the director, here.
We’d also like to hear your thoughts, please keep comments on this article family friendly.