PACIFIC NORTHWEST ORCAS are in the unique position of being both highly en- dangered and highly economically valuable when alive and well in the wild. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has identified our local orca population,
Recent legal developments indicate that we already have the sharp legal tools necessary
to address some of the major threats to Pacific Northwest orcas. Whale advocates have
had a measure of success in the courts in recent years, but that success has not translated
to any sustained growth in the orca population. Southern residents remain at such a low
population that the loss of even a single whale reduces the likelihood of their survival and
recovery. Whale advocates, and in some cases the courts, are now questioning whether
federal agencies and the public have the will to take bolder actions to recover these orcas.