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Three Sheets Northwest.com reports: Crowd says 'no go' to proposed orca rules

Two kayakers rest in a kelp bed off Lime Kiln Point, June 30. This area is part of a boat and kayak no-go zone proposed by the National Marine Fisheries Service to put more distance between vessels and killer whales. - Molly Neely-Walker
Two kayakers rest in a kelp bed off Lime Kiln Point, June 30. This area is part of a boat and kayak no-go zone proposed by the National Marine Fisheries Service to put more distance between vessels and killer whales.
— image credit: Molly Neely-Walker

Deborah Bach reports on Three Sheets Northwest.com today that a standing room-only crowd of more than 200 packed the Seattle Aquarium Wednesday to discuss the National Marine Fisheries Service's proposed half-mile-wide “no-go zone” on the west side of San Juan Island.

Among the islanders at the hearing: Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor, who spoke in opposition to the no-go zone. Balcomb has long stated that he believes the biggest threats to the killer whales' survival are pollution and lack of salmon. According to Bach, Balcomb told NMFS the whales are comfortable moving around large numbers of boats.

“My vote is that we take no action and that we all shelve (the proposed regulations) in our conceptual library somewhere between Alice in Wonderland and Don Quixote,” Bach quoted Balcomb as saying.

Suzanne Franklin, who lives on San Juan Island's west side, spoke in favor of the no-go zone.

A third and final public meeting is scheduled on San Juan Island Monday, 7-9 p.m., at the Grange Hall in Friday Harbor.

READ BACH'S REPORT HERE.

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