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NWSA Unveils Orca Protection Plan

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

October 8, 2019

The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA), the cargo operating partnership of the ports of Tacoma and Seattle, has teamed up with Washington State Ferries, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Puget Sound Partnership to identify ways to protect the endangered orca population.

The Partnership co-convened a workshop of a broad range of experts and interests to identify ways to reduce underwater noise in effort to support recovery of the endangered population of Southern Resident killer whales.

Underwater noise can be harmful to Southern Resident orcas because it impedes their ability to use sonar to hunt prey and communicate.  

“It was heartening to have such a broad range of expertise in the same room committed to tackling the critical issue of orca survival in the Salish Sea,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner and Northwest Seaport Alliance Managing Member, Fred Felleman, who studied killer whales in graduate school and championed the workshop.

“As we know from the study of cooperative hunters such as wolves, lions and orcas, we can accomplish great things when we work together, and the recovery of our iconic orca hinges on our collaboration,” he added.

“While The Northwest Seaport Alliance has seen steady increases in container cargo volume over the last decade, there are actually fewer ships calling at our gateway now than in the past. This is because vessels have gotten larger and can carry more cargo per trip, which reduces ship traffic,” said John McCarthy, Port of Tacoma commissioner and Managing Member of The Northwest Seaport Alliance.

“We want to do our part to help the species recover in Puget Sound,” he added.

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