Monday, March 21, 2016

ORCA AWARENESS MONTH Proclaimed!


JUNE IS ORCA AWARENESS MONTH 
IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
Our work goes on every month:

To join our efforts to promote Whale Protection Zones around southern Vancouver Island, a moratorium on the Chinook fishery, and reduction in underwater noise, boat collisions and whale entanglement in fishing gear, and to join the Bring Lolita Home campaign, contact orcamonth@gmail.com.

​Please come to a gathering at the BC Legislature (Belleville Street) for Lolita NOON on SATURDAY, AUGUST 22nd 
to rally and find out the next steps we can take for that poor prisoner. 
Organized by "Orca Rescue": www.orcarescue.com

https://naturecanada.ca/news/blog/help-celebrate-orca-awareness-month/    
Nature Canada, June 17 2020

Take a moment to sign the International Fund For Animal Welfare petition against the Icelandic whale hunt, which is close to being terminated. It is not popular in Iceland, where the majority support the flourishing whale-watch industry instead and only a tiny minority still eat whale meat. Join the international campaign with a simple signature: https://www.ifaw.is/about-the-campaign/

A supporter brings an exciting new book to our attention:
Spirits of the Coast: Orcas in Science, Art and History.
Produced by the Royal British Columbia Museum, " … this collection brings together diverse voices, young and old, to explore the magic, myths, and ecology of orcas. A literary and visual journey through past and possibility, Spirits of the Coast illustrates how these enigmatic animals have shaped us as much as our actions have impacted them …"  -- KinzieThings
(Full review and cover image at https://kinziethings.com/2020/04/15/review-spirits-of-the-coast-orcas-in-science-art-and-history/


JUNE 2020 - Orca Awareness Month will be celebrated as every year, but with COVID-related adjustments. We can't host talks and gatherings, but we do make public displays of art and information.
Luckily, many artists find Orcinus orca splendidly inspiring. 

View "Superpod" by Natasha van Netten, in the Window Gallery of Ministry of Casual Living, in Odeon Lane (764 Yates Street), downtown Victoria, until June 20th:



Here is new art by Dana Markestein:



by Gayle Millbank (ending fishing gear entanglement is one of Orca Month's campaigns - see below):



by Patricia Haley-Tsui, of Vancouver:



and by Janine Schroedter:







For fabulous photography (as well as detailed orca-data) go to Jan Cadieux's "Jolly Toad" site:  https://jollytoad.com/whats-killing-our-orcas/

Some businesses are putting orca-assistance data and postcard give-aways in their windows, and some folks put art in their windows at home. Here's one from Jan and George in Victoria:




It's tragic to realize that since BC first proclaimed Orca Month in 2016, no progress has been made in freeing Lolita-Tokitae from Miami Seaquarium, This article from that time ("Black and White Lives Matter") is still unfortunately as current as ever:
https://countercurrents.org/2016/08/black-and-white-lives-matter/

YOU CAN HELP -- PLEASE SEND ORCA AWARENESS MONTH MESSAGES FOR LOLITA'S AND CORKY'S RELEASE TO THE 3 LEADERS OF THE JURISDICTIONS AROUND HER HOME WATERS, who should be speaking up for her to the Miami Seaquarium:
Premier Horgan:  premier@gov.bc.ca
Prime Minister Trudeau: Justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca
Washington State Governor J. Inslee: use the form at
       https://www.governor.wa.gov/contact

On the positive side, plans are unfolding for the coming whale sanctuary in Nova Scotia. See:  https://whalesanctuaryproject.org/
See the NEWSLETTER HERE: https://www.paperturn-view.com/us/whale-sanctuary-project/newsletter-may-2020?pid=ODY86514&v=1.12&blm_aid=19902

Senator Patricia Bovey - a BC resident - congratulates Whale Sanctuary Project for securing this location for whales to be freed to in future:
https://whalesanctuaryproject.org/canadian-senate-pays-tribute-to-work-of-whale-sanctuary-project/

Lolita  could also have sanctuary available in waters closer to home, on Hanson Island: https://orcalab.org/2019/12/11/corkys-50th-capture-anniversary/.

A garden display for Orca Month (Victoria):




Part of our focus for ORCA MONTH 2020 is the urgent matter of lost fishing gear which entangles whales off BC, as elsewhere in the oceans. Here is a response from the provincial government when OrcaMonthBC asked them what efforts were being made to solve this problem:

Thank you for your email of November 9, 2019, addressed to the Honourable George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, regarding the use of longline fishing equipment in B.C. Minister Heyman has asked that I respond on his behalf and I apologize for the delay in doing so.

During summer 2019, I travelled the coast of British Columbia meeting with local governments and community groups to hear about their experiences with the issues of abandoned vessels, marine debris and marine-sourced plastics. During these conversations, I heard about the need for additional ways of preventing ghost fishing gear. Our Fall Progress Report was posted in September, and on February 5, 2020, we published the full What We Heard summary. The next step will be submitting my final report with recommendations to Minister Heyman. To stay informed of progress on this initiative, I invite you to visit http://gov.bc.ca/MarineDebrisProtection

Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced $8.3 million for retrieval of harmful ghost fishing gear and ensuring its proper disposal, and earlier this month they hosted a Gear Innovation Summit in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Because it is the federal government that has jurisdiction over navigation, fishing and marine mammals, they will lead on solutions, and I suggest you work directly with them.


Thank you again for taking the time to write. 
Sincerely,
Sheila Malcolmson
MLA, Nanaimo
Parliamentary Secretary for Environment

OrcaMonthBC will follow this up with the Feds and keep you informed. Please join us in this campaign by writing to your own MP to urge effective action..

For tips on taking individual actions for orcas, READ OUR BOOKLET full of facts, stats, addresses 
Words About Whales: Speaking Out For Orcas. (orcamonth@gmail.com for a copy)

2020 - Still stuck at home? Spend some time listening to this new podcast interview with cetacean expert Erich Hoyt: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/erich-hoyt-on-strange-sea-creatures-russian-whales/id1232220512?i=1000470987302

Orca Awareness 2019 display at Qualicum Branch Vancouver Island Regional Library:

There are many ways of thinking and communicating about our cetacean neighbours in the Salish Sea, and one way to communicate their plight is through theatre. TOOKS ON COOK READERS' THEATRE hosted a performance at 1175 Cook St, Victoria, of:

"VOICES FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE"
Included was a poem about Orca J35 by Linda Rogers -- "A Lighter Blue"
"Seance" -- a comedy by Gary Johnson
"Orca Seance" -- a tragi-comedy by "Orcas"


Orca Month joined the Georgia Strait Alliance to display whale and marine information at the Oak Bay Green Committee's 
PLASTICS RECYCLING DEPOT
See piles of plastic collected here on but ONE morning in ONE municipality. No wonder the oceans contain almost more plastic than living things, and that marine animals are choking on it. The world needs to curb that industry. It is the worst product of the fossil fuel industry, and Orca Month is glad that the current Government of Canada has introduced a plan to cut back on production and use in 2021. WE the consumers need to start now however: reject plastic products and packaging. Also, consider gathering friends for a BEACH CLEAN-UP at a beach near you.




We may be staying home during the COVID epidemic but that doesn't mean we can't keep writing letters to MPs and the Minister of Fisheries & Oceans (address below), requesting stronger protections for orcas (as required by law under the Species At Risk Act -- although Canadians have yet to demand that those requirements are enforced). See orca needs listed below. 

Are you an artist? Last year an Orca Month MARINE AND ORCA ART SHOW was held at Caffe Misto in Victoria 
2865 Foul Bay Road. 

This year we can't have art shows in confined spaces but we can gather our painting or photography group and present  marine art on public bulletin boards and windows.

Caffe Misto, Victoria BC

The Georgia Strait Alliance, David Suzuki Foundation, EcoJustice, Raincoast Foundation and other whale-defence groups, asked Parliament to pass an emergency order giving Salish Sea orcas dedicated feeding refuges in their hunting corridors -- a few have been set aside in 2019 south of Sooke, at the mouth of the Fraser River and near Saturna Island, but the returns of salmon to spawn in BC's rivers is abysmal this year. Nevertheless, the fishing industry continues to oppose non-fishing refuges for whales. To support salmon conservation and to ask the politicians to extend quiet zones for orcas, please write to your MP, the Minister of Fisheries (Bernadette Jordan - min@dfo-mpo.gc.ca), and  the Prime Minister (pm@pm.gc.ca, or in print to: Justin Trudeau House of Commons Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6.

Fighting noise in the ocean: further underwater shipping noise will guarantee extinction for southern residents, marine scientists tell the federal government:
https://wildwhales.org/2017/04/marine-scientists-urge-federal-government-to-reduce-underwater-noise-in-the-salish-sea-read-their-letter-here/

Ask the Navy to avoid using sonar in whale feeding areas off Vancouver Island. Engine noise as well as underwater sonar disorients them and drives them insane. Write to: 


ESQUIMALTPACIFICNAVYPUBLICAFFAIRS@forces.gc.ca. and to: Harjit.Sajjan@parl.gc.ca


ADD YOUR VOICE! THE ORCAS NEED HELP.


https://openparliament.ca/bills/42-1/S-203/
PASSED! Bill S-203 banning whale captivity and breeding in aquariums. VICTORIES FOR WHALES AND DOLPHINS ARE INCREASING BUT THEIR PLIGHT WORSENS -- WE NEED TO DO MORE. CHINOOK FISHING MORATORIUM AN IMPORTANT NEXT STEP -- KEEP SPEAKING UP!

June 2019 -- 0NLY 73 SRKWs LEFT  (J, K, and L pods) + one new calf born this spring - we hope s/he will survive long enough to be counted a thriving new member of the pods

 

 Shrine For Dead and Captive Orcas, January at Oak Bay Marina 

 Shrine for Tilikum at site of former Sealand of the Pacific aquarium at Oak Bay Marina

The ORCA AWARENESS MONTH team asks Premier Horgan of BC to join Washington and Canada in designating WHALE PROTECTION ZONES in the straits around Vancouver Island. Please echo our request:
premier@gov.bc.ca, or   Office of the Premier, Legislative Bldgs, 501 Belleville St., Victoria V8V 1X4.  Ask the politicians if they think 73 Southern Resident Killer Whales are enough.

Orca Month Committee is also asking federal and provincial politicians to formally request the return of native killer whales Lolita and Corky to a sanctuary bay in BC or Washington State. See proposals from both www.whalesanctuarysociety.org, and www.orcanetwork.org. If cultural artifacts are requested to be returned, living wildlife certainly should be.


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Please take your PLASTICS to your local RECYCLE DEPOT

If you work in a school, hospital or office, look at single-use plastics which you could do without

Plastics are made in laboratories, and they "degrade" only by becoming so microscopic they enter and disable the cells of living things, including the plankton which marine animals ingest. Plastics which break down to chips choke birds and marine mammals, or fill their stomachs with non-nutrients.
8 million tons of plastic are dumped into Earth's oceans every year. (Seachoice) Only 5% are recycled.


Every bit of plastic ever produced still exists, and will still exist after our 
great-grandchildren’sgreat-grandchildren have all been born and died

"Marine plastics are a greater threat to life on Earth than is climate change."

                        -- Charles Moore, mariner, scientist,  author of Plastic Ocean, 2011



Display at Orca Month Recycle Day with Oak Bay Green Committee .
Friends don't let friends buy plastic goods. Use alternatives!

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New volunteers always welcome. 
"Every Month Is Orca Month"

Our goal is to focus public attention on the needs of the southern and northern residents orcas and migrants,  and the threats that have made them "endangered" and "threatened" according to the federal Species At Risk Act:
ocean pollution - chemical and plastic
intermittent shortage of salmon (their main prey)
fishing gear entanglement
underwater shipping noise
danger of collision with ships, ferries and tankers
catastrophic population decline during decades of capture for the aquarium trade
We work toward the release of all captive cetaceans, such as Lolita who was captured from L pod over 40 years ago, and whose mother and other family still swim in the Salish Sea

  Lolita
We support the work of Orca Network in bringing Lolita home from the Miami Seaquarium.
See @salishorcas for Lolita updates
Follow us on Twitter -- @orcamonthBC

Contact us at: orcamonth@gmail.com