VANCOUVER — Canada has announced sweeping new rules to protect southern resident orcas off British Columbia’s coast, including requiring ships to stay 400 metres away from the whales and closing some salmon fisheries. Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced on Friday the latest set of recovery measures for the endangered southern residents, of which only 75 remain and they face serious threats. "We are at a crossroads. The impacts of climate change, combined with habitat loss associated with human activity over the past several decades, has resulted in ecosystem degradation here in Canada and around the world," he told a news conference. "Our government is taking action to protect and enhance biodiversity. This is critical for the health of the planet and ultimately for the health of the human population." Starting in June, the minimum distance ships must keep from all orcas, also known as killer whales, will double to 400 metres, although commercial whale-watchers may be authorized to view whales other than southern residents from 200 metres away. Several commercial whale watching companies, including members of the Pacific Whale Watch Association, have agreed to refrain from offering tours to see southern resident killer whales. Ben Duthie, general […]

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