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Editorial: Time to put a moratorium on whale-watching boats

The image of J-35 keeping her dead calf afloat is enough to break your heart. Is it enough for people to take the difficult step needed to help the whales? Is it enough to put a moratorium on the whale-watching boats.

NOAA photo

While some people including  Center for Whale Research Director Ken Balcomb are adamant that noise is not a problem, the detrimental effect of the noise on the Southern Resident Killer Whale pods - J, K and L pods - has been proven through studies cited by NOAA.  

The orcas need more fish, they need a less polluted habitat. And they also need to be protected from harassment. Whale watch boat operators and their customers may be well meaning and may care about the whales, but their actions put stress on the orcas and make finding their prey more difficult. 

NOAA is prioritizing West Coast Chinook salmon stocks for the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population. We need to do all we can to help the endangered orcas survive and thrive.

It is way past time to give the creatures a break and put the whale watching tours on hold. People could switch to land-based whale watching and the killer whales could hunt for their dinner in relative peace. 



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