Whales are bombarded by human-caused threats. Recent scientific reviews for three of Canada’s most endangered whales – the St. Lawrence Estuary beluga, the North Atlantic right whale and the southern resident killer whale (SRKW) – list a host of ways we’re putting these behemoths in increasing danger.

So far, Canada’s actions to save the SRKWs and other whales are failing to address the plethora of threats, including entanglement with fishing gear, ship strikes, lack of prey, toxic pollution, acoustic disturbance, oil spills, and other direct and indirect habitat damage.

However, there has been some progress. For instance, recently amended Marine Mammal Regulations set greater approach distances for vessels to better protect marine mammal species like whales. And a new federal statutory ban on holding dolphins and whales in captivity will phase out this controversial practice in Canada.

With such great challenges facing these iconic species, it’s time to bring new ideas to the table. West Coast will continue to propose bold legal solutions to reverse declining whale populations, such as establishing legally-defined marine sanctuaries, and granting legal personhood for at-risk whales.

Learn more:

Photo credit: Brodie Guy