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

Maple Ridge council puts brakes on garden suite expansion

Pilot projects shelved until politicians tour existing homes

Fixing ‘The Sorriest Bus Stop’ in North America

Stop in Pitt Meadows is being improved, transit riders will no longer hurdle barrier

Film details scourge of opioid overdoses

Shows in Maple Ridge council chambers Thursday

Approval sought for Environmental School expansion

If approved, school will offer classes in Grades 8 and 9

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Dog shot in foot with BB gun during cellphone sale at SkyTrain station

William Ayers, 28, is facing a number of charges after incident in Burnaby

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Man, two children sent to hospital after Vancouver carbon monoxide leak

Nine people were evacuated from the home in south Vancouver

Most Read