Progress for Killer Whale Habitat!

“This is a beautiful planet and not at all fragile. Earth can withstand significant volcanic eruptions, tectonic cataclysms, and ice ages. But this canny, intelligent, prolific, and extremely self-centered human creature had proven himself capable of more destruction of life than Mother Nature herself…. We’ve got to be stopped.”

 -Michael L. Fischer-

I received this update letter from the Wilderness Committee.  It is such good news I just had to share it.  The government has to be held responsible for the promises and legislation it claims to support and in this case they are on notice to do so.  It is one thing to placate voters with plans however implementation is key.

Today’s “stone” is  Day  46   splashing, spouting, diving, thrilling, whales

To Eldy B

If you love killer whales…

Hi Eldy

Today’s the day to spread the love, so it is with great pleasure that I write to share the good news about a wild creature that is near and dear to all of our hearts.

Last week, we took another important step forward in the long effort to safeguard killer whales, one of our Pacific coast’s iconic species. I am writing to let you know what this latest court victory means, and to thank you – without supporters like you victories like this would not be possible!

The federal Court of Appeal has upheld a precedent-setting ruling that confirmed the federal government is legally bound to protect killer whale habitat. This means that essentially all of the original ruling, which found that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) had failed to legally protect killer whale critical habitat, has been upheld.

The Wilderness Committee has been part of a coalition of nine environmental groups, represented by Ecojustice, who successfully argued in Federal Court last year that DFO had not met its legal obligation to protect killer whales. The court ruled that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans must legally protect all aspects of killer whale critical habitat — including their food supply and the quality of their marine environment.

DFO appealed one key aspect of that decision, claiming that discretionary provisions in the Fisheries Act adequately protect the critical habitat of aquatic species such as the killer whale. The Fisheries Act, however, does not make critical habitat protection mandatory, as is the case under the Species at Risk Act. Instead, the Fisheries Act gives Minister Keith Ashfield broad discretion to authorize activities that destroy habitat.

Last week, the DFO appeal was defeated. And that’s great news for the two distinct populations of killer whales that traverse British Columbia’s coastal waters, the northern and southern residents. At last count there were 264 threatened northern residents and just 87 endangered southern residents.

Killer whales are considered a “sentinel species,” which means their health is a bellwether for the overall health of the ocean environment in which they live. The victory was precedent-setting for the more than 90 endangered and threatened aquatic species listed under the Species at Risk Act, all of which depend on healthy habitats to survive.

Court battles like the one we have been involved in to protect killer whale habitat are long and costly, and there is still a possibility that this case will be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. If you love killer whales, and want to contribute to our ongoing work to protect all species at risk, please consider making a contribution at this time.

Today’s a good day to show your love for killer whales and all endangered species.

Gwen Barlee | Policy Director
Wilderness Committee

Thank you for supporting wilderness.

The Wilderness Committee is Canada’s largest membership-based, citizen-funded wilderness preservation organization. We work for the preservation of Canadian and international wilderness through research and grass roots education. The Wilderness Committee works on the ground to achieve ecologically sustainable communities.

As a Wilderness Committee member and supporter, you will be an important part of saving vital wilderness areas. You can also help us by volunteering. Find out how to become a member or call us at 604-683-8220.

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