Statement on Southern Resident Killer Whales

Time is running out to save the 81 remaining whales.

     Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, NDP): Mr. Speaker, time is running out to save the southern resident killer whales. These most magnificent creatures not only hold an iconic place in First Nations culture, they also drive our tourism industry. Most importantly, orcas are a key indicator of ecosystem health. That is why I am tabling today a motion calling for an action plan to protect this endangered species under the Species At Risk Act.

    Over the past year, I have met with local stakeholders to develop an action plan with broad-based local support that will address key threats the orcas are facing. This motion calls for research and monitoring funding from the federal government, implementing programs to decrease chemical pollution in the Salish sea, improving Chinook enhancement programs, plus measures to reduce noise levels and other disturbances orcas face on a daily basis.

    We have waited for the federal government to act since 2003, when the southern resident killer whales were first listed as endangered. Since then, their numbers have dropped to just 81. We must act now to save these whales which not only inspire us with their beauty, but remind us all of the fragility of the ecosystem that sustains life in and around the Salish Sea.