Regulate ocean noise or risk Salish Sea orca extinction, say top marine scientists

WWF-Canada supports recommended reduction of at least 3 decibels

VANCOUVER, April 12, 2017 /CNW/ - Reducing ocean noise by more than three decibels over 10 years would create a key condition for the recovery of the orcas of the Salish Sea off the B.C. coast, say 20 marine scientists. In this letter sent to the Prime Minister and federal ministers of Fisheries, Environment and Transport today, the scientists call for an immediate commitment to reduce levels of underwater noise in the Salish Sea, which they call "already excessive." WWF-Canada, which criticized the recent Species at Risk action plan for the recovery of these endangered orcas, supports the scientists' recommendation.

The letter

  • Visit here to read to public letter.
  • Signed by 20 marine scientists who have expertise in this population of marine mammals or work on the effects of underwater noise on ocean wildlife.
  • List of signatories includes Canadian and American academics, retired researchers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and experts in underwater bio-acoustics

Orcas of the Salish Sea

  • Also known as southern resident killer whales, these orcas have been declared endangered in both Canada and the United States, as their critical habitat straddles the border. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recommended that these orcas be listed as endangered in 2001.
  • In March 2017, the federal government released a plan for their recovery. The plan has been widely criticized for its lack of actions to address the threats facing the orcas.

WWF-Canada has a 50-year history of working on species recovery and protection, and has been working for more than 10 years to help the Salish Sea orcas by:

  • Working with the shipping industry to reduce the impacts of underwater noise on these whales.
  • Working with partners to create a network of marine protected areas on the Pacific Coast.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit


For further information: or to arrange an interview with a signatory of the letter: Catharine Tunnacliffe, communications specialist,, +1 647 624 5279


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