For Immediate Release, November 11, 2019


Julie Teel Simmonds, (619) 990-2999,
Sophia Ressler, (206) 399-4004,

Federal Hearing on Tuesday to Focus on Protecting Washington’s Endangered Orcas From Boats

FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash.— The National Marine Fisheries Service is holding a scoping meeting Tuesday in Friday Harbor, Washington, on how to protect critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales from boat noise and disturbance in Washington’s inland waters. That population has dropped to just 73 orcas.

Officials announced the hearing and new scoping process last month following a lawsuit filed in August by the Center for Biological Diversity and Orca Relief Citizens’ Alliance seeking to create a “whale protection zone” off the west coast of San Juan Island. The Fisheries Service is taking public comments at the hearing and via email ( or regular mail through Dec. 23.

“Endangered West Coast orcas need strong protection from vessel noise and disturbance in the heart of their habitat,” said Julie Teel Simmonds, an attorney at the Center. “Southern Residents will continue to decline if the federal government doesn’t do more to protect them. Let officials know you support keeping boats away from these orcas where they gather, rest and eat.”

What:National Marine Fisheries Service scoping meeting for protective regulations for endangered killer whales in Washington’s inland waters

When:Tuesday, Nov. 12, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Brickworks Event Center, 150 Nichols St., Friday Harbor, WA 98250

Who:Representatives of the Center, Orca Relief Citizens’ Alliance and other groups will call for more protection from vessel noise and disturbance for orcas in the Salish Sea.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.