Protected zone for orcas? Find out about it at The Whale Trail’s upcoming Orca Talk

Here’s word of the first presentation in a new series of Orca Talks presented by West Seattle-headquartered The Whale Trail: You’ll hear about the proposal for “A Protected Zone for Puget Sound Orcas,” 7 pm Thursday, October 30th at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor). From TWT executive director Donna Sandstrom:

The Southern Resident Killer Whales are endangered and seriously declining; their 2014 population of 79 is the lowest since 1985. To aid their recovery, Orca Relief is urging NOAA Fisheries to conduct a public process that will result in a Whale Protection Zone for the SRKWs.

A well designed and enforced WPZ would provide the Southern Resident Orca a safe-haven in the very core of their critical habitat, and a relief from vessel impacts including noise, disturbance and air pollution. Bruce Stedman, Executive Director of Orca Relief, will describe the key aspects of how a protected area for the Orca should be developed and how it could help the SRKWs begin to recover.

Join us to hear the latest about the orcas, and updates from Robin Lindsay (Seal Sitters), and “Diver Laura” James (

These talks are usually sellouts – get your ticket(s) ASAP online, $5 suggested donation, kids free. C & P is at 5612 California SW.

7 Replies to "Protected zone for orcas? Find out about it at The Whale Trail's upcoming Orca Talk"

  • Ray October 15, 2014 (6:57 pm)

    I am all for working to save and maintain the Orca populations, but there is no way this idea will float (ha!) politically, economically and any other …-y. These are wild animals that are constantly moving. A static WPZ would have limited if any impact because these animals are constantly moving, going where their food is. Any WPZ will significantly impact the economy of the PNW including shipping, farming/ag, logging, etc. A pipe dream that (luckily) economic interests will negate.

    There are many smart things that can be done – improving litter/drainage, reducing the use of harsh chemicals, improving salmon runs, change some shipping reglations. But shutting off any sort of significant portion of the primary economic waterway of the Puget Sound is ridiculous and dead before it even starts.

    The other part of this is that all of the other killer whale groups in the northeast Pacific (from Alaska down to our area) are thriving, as far as populations go. They are still impacted by the various man-made issues, but their numbers are good. These pods tend to have a more varied diet, so maybe we should focus on the SRKW diet first before enacting ridiculous alternatives.

  • Donna, The Whale Trail October 15, 2014 (10:45 pm)

    Hope you will come to the talk, Ray, and hear the case for a protected zone on the west side of San Juan Island. Down to just 79 individuals, J, K and L pods could disappear in less than 100 years. We need to move boldly forth now all the issues that are impacting them. That means: restore Chinook salmon, reduce toxin inputs into Puget Sound, and minimize vessel impacts, especially in their core habitat. It’s not one or the other of these things, but all. We’re looking forward to hearing what Bruce has to say – hope you can join us.

  • Jennifer Kolbuc October 16, 2014 (4:18 pm)

    Sounds interesting! The Vancouver Aquarium and NOAA did joint research project using drones to study these killer whales in the wild this summer. Lead to some amazing discoveries and great photos:

  • Justin R. October 16, 2014 (5:54 pm)

    Donna and the rest of Whale Trail,

    I can’t make it that evening, but I’m interested in the plan. Are the details available online?


  • Anita Walsh October 16, 2014 (9:18 pm)

    Thank God everyone is brainstorming something must be done as the situation is so critical. Good luck to you all and thank you for all you do to help these magnificent creatures.

  • Donna, The Whale Trail October 17, 2014 (9:32 am)

    Hi Justin – there’s information at Orca Relief’s website: (

    Anita – thank you. The orcas need us all if they are going to have a chance.

  • Eden Greer October 21, 2014 (9:13 am)

    Seattle will not be Seattle without Orca swimming in our waters.
    As the USA ecologically breaks apart and goes under the unrelenting reign of habitat destruction and toxic, murderous pollution everywhere, we here in the NW have a unique place that can sustain life—human life! But only if we protect it so nature can work with us and for us. Orca are a keystone species, people!! As they go, so goes human life, both quality and quantity.
    THINK ABOUT THE TOURIST DOLLARS ALONE if you have to justify this. We are unique in our orca residents.
    A keystone species is a species that has a disproportionately large effect on its environment relative to its abundance. Such species are described as playing a critical role in maintaining the structure of an ecological community, affecting many other organisms in an ecosystem(**and economy**) and helping to determine the types and numbers of various other species in the community.

    The role that a keystone species plays in its ecosystem is analogous to the role of a keystone in an arch. While the keystone is under the least pressure of any of the stones in an arch, the arch still collapses without it. Similarly, an ecosystem may experience a dramatic shift if a keystone species is removed, even though that species was a small part of the ecosystem by measures of biomass or productivity.

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