New book says B.C. needs to do a better job of looking after marine mammals

VANCOUVER – Most people who live in coastal B.C. appreciate the Pacific Ocean but few are aware that our waters are home to no less than one quarter of the world’s marine mammal species.

But a new book is giving us a mixed report card on how we look after them.

Thirty-one species live off our coast and many have made promising recoveries from the days of over-zealous whaling and bounty hunting.

In recent years we’ve seen huge baleen whales and killer whales visit Vancouver Island Harbour and elephant seals have returned to moult on public beaches.

Sadly, not all species are doing well.

“I think we really need to focus on the recovery of the species that haven’t come back and that’s what we’re doing through the species at risk program developing recovery strategies, action plans to identify threats like noise, underwater noise, entanglement in fishing gear is a problem for some of the big whales, ship strikes from fast container ships and other kinds of ships,” said Dr. John Ford, DFO cetacean research program.

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“These are all issues that may be limiting recovery.”

The book is called Marine Mammals of British Columbia.

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