We would like to respond to the June 3 letter “More about orcas.”
The Orca Network letter referred to in this editorial was in regard to a proposed new dam on the Chehalis River. This enormous structure would impact salmon that is important to Southern Resident orcas — it has absolutely nothing to do with whale watch boats or vessel traffic. Diluting down this call to action in order to further a personal agenda does a disservice to the whales and does nothing to support their recovery.
The Southern resident orcas are facing myriad threats that we are all aware of but an additional danger is a polarization in our community. We all need to be working together to restore salmon, which is widely recognized by scientists and experts as the primary factor limiting recovery. There is plenty of room for everyone to work on the issues they are passionate about without criticizing other organizations and trivializing a very real threat to the whales we all love.
The Center for Whale Research and Orca Network respectfully decline the request to support a moratorium on Southern Resident orcas for a number of reasons there isn’t room to list here. But we invite others to agree to disagree on that topic and work together on issues that affect salmon abundance, including preventing the Chehalis River dam, removing the Snake River dams, and restoring salmon habitat in Puget Sound and the Fraser River.
Submitted by Orca Network and Center for Whale Research