09/16/2018: "Large Crowd At NOAA Meeting On Orcas"
NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) Fisheries held a meeting in Friday Harbor on Saturday night to take public input on “what people in the region think” about the actions and plans NOAA has been considering to address the continuing decline of the Southern Resident Killer Whales. Watch meeting HERE
Originally the emphasis was to receive input on what and how to save J50, but now that it is presumed J50 has died, NOAA took input on what they have been doing, what they say they will do, and what they are considering doing.
While all this is going on, NOAA and the public, are awaiting for the first public report from the Governor’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force, now expected to be released on September 24th.
According to Les Purce and Stephanie Solien, the Co-Chairs of the task force, the report will consist of a set of recommendations for action to the Governor.
Of course, like all of the other studies that have for decades been published, reviewed, and commented on by the public and the experts on how best to save the salmon and the orca, this report will also be released for public comment.
Although the report has yet to be issued, a statement sent out by chairs Purce and Solien on Sunday gives some hints as to what the main areas of concern are that need to be addressed: A lack of salmon; water pollution; and, noise pollution from ships and boats.
All these issues have for years been identified and put forth as contributors to the decrease in the orca population, and yet, as commissioner John Evans points out in a recent column, there has been an “abject failure of the elected officials and regulatory agencies to take meaningful action” to save the whales.
The photos of J38 carrying her dead calf and the loss of J50 may spur some immediate action on numerous fronts to truly take action. What will not help, is to author another report that will end up on a shelf next to all of the other reports.