[MARMAM] Offshore Killer Whale - potentially listed as Threatened

XPAC Species at Risk SARA at pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Fri Oct 9 09:39:35 PDT 2009

The offshore population of killer whales was listed as Special Concern
in 2003 by the Species at Risk Act (SARA).  It was reassessed in March
2009 by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada
(COSEWIC) as Threatened.  Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is now
seeking your input on potentially changing its status to Threatened
under SARA. 
It is difficult to distinguish between resident, transient and offshore
killer whales found on the west coast of North America. Offshores are a
genetically distinct group, thought to be most closely related to
resident rather than to transient killer whales due to similarities in
appearance, vocalizations and genetics.  Encounters with offshore killer
whales have occurred mostly around the Queen Charlotte Islands; however,
there have also been sightings of offshore killer whales in coastal and
inshore waters such as Strait of Georgia and western Johnstone Strait.

Some factors that threaten the offshore killer whale population include
reductions in the availability or quality of prey due to fisheries
competition or regime shift, environmental contamination, and acute
acoustic disturbance.  Natural factors and periodic events such as mass
strandings or entrapments in narrow inlets also have the potential to
drastically reduce local numbers.  

If you would like to know more about offshore killer whales or would
like to submit comments on its potential listing as Threatened, please
see http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/consultation/sara-lep/index-eng.htm.
The comment period ends on November 13, 2009. Your input is valuable to
DFO and will be considered by the Minister of Environment, in
consultation with the Minister of Fisherises and Oceans, in making a
listing recommendation.


Karen Calla
A/Regional Manager - Species at Risk
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
200-401 Burrard St.
Vancouver, BC
V6C 3S4

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