The News Tribune posted the following article:
“Whale-watching industry is growing despite distance restrictions, according to study
BY LYNDA V. MAPES
Restrictions on vessel traffic have helped keep more boaters farther from critically endangered southern-resident killer whales, while not harming the whale-watch industry, a new study has found.
Federal restrictions enacted in 2011 require whale-watch boats and other vessels to stay at least 200 yards away from orca whales. That’s a long way — two football-field lengths — and doubled the buffer. Yet whale-watch tourism continues to grow, the technical memorandum from NOAA found.
Lack of food — namely salmon in Puget Sound — as well as high levels of contaminants in their environment, and disturbance by vessel noise are the primary threats identified by the agency to the Puget Sound orcas’ survival.”