Photo: D. Giles, Lime Kiln State Park, San Juan Island
The Orca Salmon Alliance (OSA) works to highlight the connection between two endangered species that need help: Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) and Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). The Alliance works together to support member organizations and to develop joint initiatives. Our immediate objective is to prevent the extinction of the Southern Resident killer whales by recovering the wild Chinook populations upon which the whales depend for their survival.
A primary goal of the Alliance is to educate the public about the threats facing the Southern Resident orcas and to act to eliminate those threats. Our specific focus is on improving Chinook salmon runs to reverse the orcas’ decline. The Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW) were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 2005. While the orcas face numerous challenges, lack of prey is the most significant threat facing these whales today. Coast-wide, wild Chinook salmon numbers have experienced major declines over the last century due to hydro-electric dams, habitat degradation, poor hatchery practices, and over-fishing. Today, most west coast river systems associated with wild Chinook salmon runs are experiencing only a small fraction of their historical fish returns. The tribal adage says “No fish, no blackfish.” Indeed without more Chinook salmon, the Southern Residents simply will not survive or recover. Time is running out for the whales.
Alliance Member Groups
Orca Salmon Alliance is comprised of international, national, regional, and local non-profit organizations, researchers, and community action groups. Thus far, OSA member groups include (in alphabetical order):