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Washington, San Juan Island: Proposed No Go Zone to Protect Orca Feeding Areas

By Sue Richards last modified Jan 21, 2010 08:04 PM

Published: 2010-01-21 20:04:45
Topics: Environment
Countries: USA

As reported by Cruising Compass

Proposed Rules Would Restrict Boating In PNW Orca Feeding Areas
January 21, 2010

The first baby orca of the year has been born to J pod, boosting an endangered population of whales that needs every birth it can get. Mother and calf were spotted off the north end of Vashon Island in the Puget Sound.

The birth brings to 88 the population of southern resident killer whales that frequents Puget Sound. That's a bit of a comeback after a drop in population of 20 percent between 1996 and 2001.

Orcas, a species of dolphin, were listed as endangered in November 2005. The Marine Fisheries Agency has proposed regulations to protect orcas, including new restrictions on whale watching. The rules would create a no-go zone for recreational-vessel traffic along the west side of San Juan Island, where the orcas spend much of their time feeding in the summer months.

The zone would extend one-half mile from the shore, from Mitchell Bay to Eagle Point, about a six-square-mile area, from May through September. Treaty-protected tribal fisheries would not be affected.

The regulations would be put in place for the 2011 boating season.

From: seattletimes.nwsource.com.

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