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

Bill passes to make Sept. 30 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation statutory holiday

Residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad and CRD Area F director Joan Sorley were in Ottawa for the vote

Wally Webber elected to fourth term as Nuxalk Chief Councilor

Webber took the win with 174 votes out of a total of 389

Bella Coola expected to be hottest spot in B.C. today

Temperatures are predicted to rise to 18 C

B.C. minister says rural internet is ‘railroad of the 21st century’

Jinny Sims talks details about the $50-million provincial and possible $750-million federal funds

IT’S OFFICIAL: Mt. Timothy sale complete

New owners looking toward year-round mountain resort facility

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Most Read