Humpbacks make waves for Gateway
Oct 29, 2013 / 11:52 am
After a five-year delay, the federal government has published a final recovery strategy for humpback whales off the West Coast that recognizes shipping traffic and toxic spills as threats to critical habitat.
The endangered whale has played a large role in the debate over increased oil tanker traffic along the British Columbia coast.
Last year a coalition of environmental groups launched a lawsuit to try and force Ottawa to protect the habitat of North Pacific humpbacks and three other endangered species, citing the threat from projects like the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.
The strategy published this week also recognizes acoustic disturbance and the loss of the whales' prey to commercial, recreational and aboriginal fisheries as threats to the whales.
Under the federal Species at Risk Act, the whale habitat must be protected and an federal action plan must be put in place for the recovery and protection of the species.
Scott Wallace of the David Suzuki Foundation says the plan, while long overdue, is a key step in preserving the iconic mammals.
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