OLYMPIA – Legislation to further protect Washington’s endangered southern resident orca population passed the Senate on a 29-18 vote today. Senate Bill 5371, sponsored by Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes), would require whale-watching boats and other marine vessels to refrain from approaching within 1,000 yards of a southern resident killer whale. This would be an increase in distance from our current 300-yard buffer on approach, and is based on recommendations from the Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force.
“Orcas are such an emblematic symbol of Washington state’s ecosystem, but climate change and converging issues like noise pollution, food contaminants, and lack of salmon have worsened the species’ plight for years,” said Lovelett. “It’s crucial that we step in and provide as ...Read More