Federal government rejects emergency order to protect killer whales

Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the government does not believe an emergency order would be helpful

The federal government has declined to issue an emergency order under the Species at Risk Act that would further protect the endangered killer whales off British Columbia’s coast.

An order-in-council issued Thursday said the government has already taken several measures to ensure the recovery of the southern resident killer whales.

Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in a statement Friday that the government “carefully weighed various options” to protect the whales, and it does not believe an emergency order would be helpful.

“An emergency order does not contain measures in of itself, it is only a tool governments can use as an implementation mechanism,” he said.

Wilkinson said the government announced new measures on Wednesday to ensure that when the whales return to the waters in greater numbers in spring, they have cleaner water to swim in, more Chinook salmon to eat and a quieter place to call home.

READ MORE: Conservation groups sue Ottawa to protect endangered killer whales

READ MORE: Canadian laws could prevent emaciated killer whale from being treated

The government also plans to work with the U.S. to align shipping regulations, he said.

However, Misty MacDuffee, a conservation biologist at the Raincoast Conservation Foundation in B.C., said the emergency order would have allowed the government to do certain things it currently doesn’t have legislation or powers to do.

Five conservation groups, represented by the environmental law group Ecojustice, had teamed up to launch legal action aimed at protecting the endangered whales in September.

In a statement, the groups said they are “deeply disappointed” by cabinet’s rejection of what they believe is the best tool to help the recovery of the whales.

The designation would have allowed the government to cut through red tape and bring in wide-ranging protections for species at risk, it said.

With only 74 animals remaining, southern resident killer whales are in crisis, they said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Holdover fires burning near Telegraph Creek

BC Wildfire Service assures residents of a proactive plan heading into wildfire season

Northwest entrepreneurs pitch their plans for cash prizes

ThriveNorth announces 12 finalists in this year’s business challenge

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

Cyclist braking stigma on addiction from coast to coast

Mathew Fee aims at world record for longest distance on BMX bike while sharing his story of recovery

Hotcakes

On April 6 there was a community pancake breakfast held at the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Northwest B.C. leaders divided over oil tanker ban

Senate hearings in Prince Rupert and Terrace show Bill C-48 is at a crossroads

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Most Read