Commissioner hopes Ottawa’s save-the-whales effort is not too late

Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand says killer whale population hanging on by a thread

Canada’s environmental watchdog says the federal government waited to take specific action to protect some of its most at-risk whales until the mythical creatures were already on the verge of going extinct.

Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand says Canada had the tools to safeguard North Atlantic right whales, Southern resident killer whales and other marine mammals from being hit by ships, tangled in fishing gear or losing their food sources — but it waited until after 12 right whales died in a single summer and the killer whale population was hanging on by a thread.

RELATED: Conservation groups sue Ottawa to protect endangered killer whales

Gelfand’s latest audit comes just as Ottawa is trying to prove to the courts it is doing enough to protect the Southern resident killer whale in particular from risks, so it can go forward with a plan to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline.

As for the killer whale — listed as endangered since 2003 — Fisheries and Oceans Canada didn’t do anything specific to help the whales’ main food source, Chinook salmon, until this past July.

There are only 75 Southern resident killer whales left and not a single calf has survived since 2016 as toxins in the water, lack of food, and noise and physical disturbances from ships put the species’ welfare in great doubt.

RELATED: Orcas challenging but not preventing pipeline expansion approval, says minister

The orcas are one of 14 whale species listed as endangered or threatened in Canada, and Gelfand says Fisheries couldn’t give details on what it had done to protect 11 of them.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

U.S. couple ‘devastated’ truck and boat stolen in Williams Lake overnight

Family from Oregon appealing for assistance to help find stolen items

Police name second suspect, lay kidnapping and attempted murder charges in connection with Rudy Johnson Bridge incidents

Drynock is considered dangerous, do not approach him and call the local RCMP detachment immediately

Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates react to finding Trudeau broke ethics law

The election campaign is heating up before the writ has even dropped

Links probable between homicide, missing persons investigation in Williams Lake

Rich ‘Savage’ Duncan the victim of Aug. 6 homicide

Heiltsuk challenges feds decision to award $67M contract to east coast towing company

Heiltsuk Horizon challenges decision to award emergency ship towing contract to Irving company

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

B.C. father tells judge he did not kill his young daughters

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Retired B.C. fisherman wins record $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

New ‘Matrix’ film set with Keanu Reeves and Lana Wachowski

Fourth installment to feature Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity

Most Read