Backgrounder: Emergency order under the Species at Risk Act

In May, the federal government concluded Southern Resident killer whales face imminent threats to their survival and recovery, requiring a response under the Species at Risk Act. Five organizations — the David Suzuki Foundation, Georgia Strait Alliance, the Natural Resources Defence Council, Raincoast Conservation Foundation and WWF Canada — petitioned the minister of fisheries and oceans and minister of the environment and climate change through Ecojustice to recommend an emergency order to protect the whales. The petition identified measures including the creation of feeding refuges closed to fishing, rebuilding depleted Chinook populations, limits to whale-watching, and regulatory measures to address underwater noise from shipping. In addition to immediate measures on Chinook fishing and whale watching outlined above, these measures must be in place by next year.

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