Whales, dolphins, porpoise and sea turtles that inhabit British Columbia waters face many anthropogenic threats.  Their populations have experienced dramatic changes  over the past two centuries. Prior to this, coastal First Nations likely had a minimal impact on these populations, even though certain whale and porpoise species were hunted for food and ceremonial reasons.

Throughout the 19th and 20th century, whaling had a significant impact on large cetaceans in BC waters, and similarly, captures for aquaria in the 1960s and 70s severely reduced populations of killer whales. The ramifications of these activities persist today and many populations still have low numbers as a result.  While whaling and capture for aquaria no longer occur today in BC, there are new and emerging threats that have harmful impacts on these species.

Learn more about historical and current threats to whales, dolphins, porpoise and sea turtles and what you can do to help:

Food supply
Collision with vessels
Boat disturbance

Northern Right Whale at the Coal Harbour Whaling Station - 1951.












Vessel approaching killer whale at dangerously high speed. (photo Doug Sandilands)

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