POD is concerned that the DFO has permitted research vessels to enter these sanctuaries in the presence of the whales, conduct hydro acoustic prey assessment while the whales are foraging, tag some individual whales and close follow them. All of these activities are contrary to MOT regulations for any vessel because of the disturbance boat presence causes to foraging, and the increased stress to the already stressed whales, which are experiencing hunger from low prey availability.
POD has written to DFO Minister Bernadette Jordan (200 Kent St. Station 15N100, Ottawa ON K1A 0E6) objecting to this permitted research in the Sanctuary Zones. We have asked that the authorization for this research be reviewed and that prey availability be studied outside the Sanctuary Zones. We have also written to the lead researcher advising there are ample data implicating lack of food, pollution and vessel traffic (and accompanying noise) as prime elements in the decline in the Southern Resident Orcas. What is needed now is action based on these data.