Washington Governor Announces Dramatic Plans To Help The Orca Population Recover

December 15, 2018

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced dramatic plans Thursday to help the orca population recover — including $1.1 billion in spending and a partial whale-watching ban.

saving orca population

"We are undertaking a herculean effort to save these iconic creatures," Inslee said in a statement. "It will take action at every level of the environment across our entire state."

The orca population is now down to 74 members and many of its existing female members are nearing the age where they will no longer be able to reproduce, Ken Balcomb, founder and principal investigator of the Center for Whale Research, told The Washington Post earlier this year.

Nearly $300 million will go towards improving the diets of Southern Resident orcas, which mostly eat Chinook salmon.

Other proposals include a ban on commercial whale-watching of the Southern Residents for three years, increasing the distance boats must stay away from the orcas from the current federal rules of 200 yards to 400 yards, reducing risks of catastrophic oil spills, and removal and prevention of toxic contaminants in the waters.

The money will also go towards scientific research and monitoring efforts.

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