Killer whales disappearing off southern B.C.
The reason being mostly that they are starving to death. They feed on salmon. Warming waters, loss of habitat but mostly the greed of politically well connected fish farmers have pretty much killed off the salmon. Yesterday was the first commercial opening of a salmon fishery in the Fraser this year – mostly for Chum salmon, not highly regarded for the table (quite wrongly in my view) but commercially valuable for exports of roe to Japan. The orcas fed on chinook, and they have simply gone.
All of this is of course exactly as predicted. And BC shares the guilt equally with Washington and Alaska. Our boundaries making no difference to salmon or whales. Recent research also shows that survival rates in the Fraser (which is not dammed) are actually worse than the Columbia, which is.
But the BC government must take its share of responsibility. For its blank refusal to deal with fish farms and their sea lice. For gravel extraction in the Fraser, with no mitigation at all. For eviscerating its environmental protection agencies and its environmental assessment process, which allows any development, not matter how damaging. And so must the feds. The DFO has now supervised the collapse of the west coast salmon as effectively as the east coast cod.
Not so long ago, we were celebrating orcas, with painted glass fibre statues in the streets. I hope you know where they are now, because those are the only ones you will be able to see soon. The chances of their being a pod visible from the deck of the ferry this afternoon being slim to none.
A sad day, and one that should give the BC government pause in its rush to eliminate what is left of “super natural BC” (of course we don;t call it that now – probably in recognition of how little we care for the natural world). But is probably won’t.