Gov. Jay Inslee signed five crucial orca recovery bills into law that protect the safety and livelihood of the Southern Resident orca. These unprecedented efforts — three of them governor-requested bills — focus on protecting orcas from vessel noise and traffic, improving the safety of oil transportation through the Salish Sea, and increasing fish forage habitat and Chinook salmon for the orca’s food source.
The most recent data from March states there are 75 Southern Resident orcas left. According to the Marine Mammal Commission, the historical population may have numbered more than 200 animals before the 21st century, which is when modern impacts started to impact the orca population.
“By signing these bills, we are investing in one of our most iconic Pacific Northwest animals,” Inslee said. “The orcas are part of our identity as Washingtonians and we’ve gotten one step closer in protecting them, their homes and our own survival as we enter an unknown era of climate change. Our economic and climate change efforts need to aid their survival. For as the orca go, so go we.”
Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.