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Why The Whales Are Leaving

Orca in water

While we have been treated to some spectacular whale sightings out on our adventures, there has been a noticeable shift in the whale population this year. Our whale friends are spending less time in our beautiful waters and we want to find out why.

A Whale’s Gotta Eat!

There is research to suggest that the Southern Resident Killer Whale Community ( J, K, and L pods) has been in decline for the past 5 years. This information is coming from the Centre for Whale Research, who have been documenting whale activity for the past 4 decades. Their findings are suggesting that diminishing numbers of salmon returning to the Fraser River are a main problem. There is significantly less fish coming from this run and that is a problem because they are the main food source for the residents during the spring/summer months. Therefore, as the fish steadily decrease, so too does the presence of resident killer whales in our waters.

Where The Fish At?

Well if we want to get our whales back, we just have to provide them with more food right? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as Wal-Mart rolling back the price on Chinook Salmon. Decades of overfishing the Chinook Salmon and the fish that the Salmon eat have impacted their numbers. A large impact also comes from the 1000+ dams that have been built on rivers where the Chinook reside. The clear cutting of forests right along the edges of rivers has also negatively impacted their ability to keep eggs safe. All of these activities have combined to create disastrous conditions for the Chinook Salmon.

What can YOU do?

We have to be taking action, without urgency the Southern Resident Killer Whale Community could permanently leave our waters and we would lose them forever. This would also impact how we track the whales to make sure they are healthy and thriving. The federal government has created an action plan, but it needs work. We need to keep pressure on our government to up timelines, improve funding, and create more awareness around this issue. Together we can work hard and bring back our beautiful resident killer whales so they can thrive where they belong.

Trust us, we are incredibly passionate about this issue and are immensely invested in keeping whales safe with our whale watching practices. See what steps we take to keep whales safe and how YOU can adopt the practices here.

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See you out on the water!