A lawsuit has been launched by six conservation groups aimed at protecting B.C.’s southern resident killer whale population.
The group is asking a federal court to review what it calls a failure by the Canadian government to issue an emergency order to protect the whales under the Species at Risk Act.
The application names the federal fisheries and environment ministers as respondents.
The groups involved in the legal action include the David Suzuki Foundation, Georgia Strait Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, Raincoast Conservation Foundation and World Wildlife Fund Canada.
Lawyer and nature program director at Ecojustice Margot Venton says the whales’ situation is not improving and they need a quieter ocean with more salmon to eat.
She says the southern resident population is in a dire situation and the groups felt they needed to take the federal government to court to force Ottawa to act.
In a news release, the federal government said it is dedicated to the protection and recovery of the whales.
Ottawa announced southern resident killer whales faced imminent threats to their survival and recovery in May.
They have been endangered under the Species at Risk Act since 2003.
There are 75 southern resident killer whales remaining.
The situation has been highlighted for weeks since Canadian and American scientists have been trying to save the life of an emaciated four-year-old female orca known as J50.