Government of Canada provides new funding to protect whales through the Oceans Protection Plan
Ottawa, Ontario – The
Southern Resident Killer Whale is one of Canada’s most iconic species and faces
threats including environmental contaminants. The Government of Canada is
investing in science to aid in its protection and recovery.
Oceans Protection Plan, the Honourable
Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard,
today announced an
additional $72,000 to support the Vancouver Aquarium’s PollutionTracker, a
monitoring program that will help identify the sources of contaminants in
British Columbia’s marine environment. In total, the Government of Canada has
contributed approximately $470,000 towards the implementation of this program.
Minister LeBlanc also
announced the release of the What
We Heard report on the Southern Resident Killer Whale Symposium held in
Vancouver, British Columbia in October 2017. The
report outlines the main ideas put forward by experts from
Canadian and U.S. governments, academia, environmental non-governmental
organizations, industry and Indigenous communities during the 3-day symposium.
Suggestions were provided in four key areas: Prey Availability; Contaminants
and the Food Web; Noise and Physical Disturbance; and Integrative Action.
For the 2018 salmon fishing season, the
Department will take additional fishery management measures to increase chinook
availability in key Southern Resident Killer Whale foraging areas within their
Critical Habitat. These measures will be designed to increase access to the
whales’ food supply and to reduce physical and acoustic disturbance from
commercial and recreational fishing activities. DFO will be engaging with
stakeholders on these new measures in the near future.
The Department will implement these
measures on a trial basis in 2018. Monitoring of these key foraging areas will
be designed to assess the effectiveness of proposed measures and build in
flexibility to make adjustments as required for longer-term fisheries
management measures to benefit Southern Resident Killer Whales.
The Department is also undertaking work to increase critical habitat for Southern Resident Killer Whales to include important winter foraging habitat off the West Coast of Vancouver Island in and around Swiftsure Bank.
Helped by the concrete suggestions put forward during the symposium, and building on extensive science work and consultation, the Government of Canada is working hard to lay out a path forward for the Southern Resident Killer Whale with key actions for the immediate and longer term.
“Our Government is making significant investments into real tools to help our endangered whales. We look forward to continued collaboration with all sectors to protect and recover this iconic species.”
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. Through this plan, the Government of Canada is creating a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coasts and waterways for generations to come. This work is being done in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities.
The Southern Resident Killer Whale is listed as an endangered species under Canada’s Species At Risk Act, and faces threats to recovery including reductions in the availability and quality of prey, physical and acoustic disturbance, and environmental contaminants.
In October, the Government of Canada announced $7.2 million in funding to support the increased use of world-renowned digital hydrophone and oceanographic technologies which will benefit our coastal environment and will help us better understand the underwater acoustic environment and inform mitigation strategies to protect marine mammals, including killer whales.
In August, we announced $388,000 in funding to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority to support a Vessel Slowdown Trial in Haro Strait, B.C. — an important summer feeding area for the Southern Resident Killer Whale. The Government of Canada has been working closely with the Vancouver-Fraser Port Authority’s Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program to conduct these studies and the results are being analyzed.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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