Southern Resident Killer Whales Report

Southern Resident Killer Whales ReportToday, NOAA Fisheries released a report highlighting the accomplishments of 10 years of dedicated research and conservation of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population. With a decade of federal funding and productive partnerships with the killer whale community, we have taken targeted actions, collected substantial new data, and refined scientific techniques to protect this listed species and ensure a strong foundation for its recovery.

Some Findings and Milestones

  • Southern Residents favor Chinook salmon as prey.
  • They are among the most contaminated marine mammals in the world.
  • When vessels are present, they hunt less and travel more.
  • NOAA established new vessel approach regulations and oil spill contingencies to protect the whales.
  • In the winter, they forage along the West Coast as far south as central California.

Looking Ahead

The population continues to struggle to recover, due in part to the influence of risk factors we have yet to fully understand. While we have come a long way in understanding of some key aspects of these risk factors, and have improved our ability to protect these animals, many questions still remain.

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