Killer whale habitat protection extends to Monterey Bay area

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NOAA: Killer Whale Habitat Protection Expands to Monterey Bay Area

Habitat protections for endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) have been extended by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the Monterey Bay area. According to a NOAA press release, expanded habitat protection, known as “designated critical habitat,” will now extend from the coastal waters of northern Washington state to the coastal area of ​​Big On in California. The southernmost point of the protected habitat will be Point Sur, approximately 25 miles south of the town of Monterey. The new protections were put in place because Southern Resident Killer Whales hunt salmon off the coast of California. “While southerners are best known in the Pacific Northwest, the entire west coast can contribute to the recovery of the whales and the salmon they depend on,” said Lynne Barre, recovery coordinator for the southerners. “No matter where they feed, they feed on a mix of salmon from different rivers on the west coast. It means the way we all use water, the way we protect habitat, the way we manage our runoff – it all makes a difference. in California in years when populations are expected to be low. The proposal has not yet been implemented and the public comment period ended on August 2. Newly identified critical habitat includes coastal waters 6.1-200 meters deep with three essential physical and biological characteristics: Water quality to support growth and development Prey species of quantity, quality and sufficient availability to support individual growth, reproduction and development, as well as overall population growth.

Habitat protections for endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) have been extended by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the Monterey Bay area.

According to a NOAA press release, expanded habitat protection, known as “designated critical habitat,” will now extend from the coastal waters of northern Washington state to the coastal area of ​​Big On in California.

The southernmost point of the protected habitat will be Point Sur, approximately 25 miles south of the town of Monterey.

The new protections were put in place because Southern Resident Killer Whales hunt salmon off the coast of California.

“While southerners are best known in the Pacific Northwest, the entire west coast can contribute to the recovery of the whales and the salmon they depend on,” said Lynne Barre, recovery coordinator for the southerners. “No matter where they feed, they feed on a mix of salmon from different rivers on the west coast. It means the way we all use water, the way we protect habitat, the way we manage our runoff, it all makes a difference.

The NOAA fisheries have also proposed limiting commercial and recreational fishing in areas as far south as Monterey Bay in California in years when populations are expected to be low. The proposal has not yet been implemented and the public comment period ended on August 2.

The newly identified critical habitat includes coastal waters 6.1-200 meters deep with three essential physical and biological characteristics:

  • Water quality to support growth and development
  • Prey species in sufficient quantity, quality and availability to support individual growth, reproduction and development, as well as overall population growth
  • Transit conditions to allow migration, rest and foraging

15,910 square miles have been added to the protected whale habitat area.


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