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Marine Mammals

Every spring and fall, over 20,000 gray whales migrate along the coast of British Columbia on their voyage between Mexico’s Baja and summer feeding grounds in the Bering Sea. Marine mammals, such as gray whales, are particularly sensitive to an offshore oil and gas industry. Studies in Russia show gray whales will avoid an area where seismic testing is occurring, even if the location is the site of critical feeding grounds.

Click here for more information about the impacts of seismic testing.

Gray whales are one of 29 marine mammal species found in Canada’s Pacific Ocean, along the coast. Other species include, humpback, orca, fin and minke whales, Pacific white-sided dolphin, Dall’s porpoise, stellar sea lion and the northern fur seal. These animals are an essential part of the marine ecosystem, drawing thousands of visitors annually to the B.C. coast where whale watching has become an economic engine. More than 11 communities are actively involved in whale watching.

It is estimated that over 2,000 harbour seals, 22 killer or orca whales and 25 gray whales were killed because of the oil that spilled from the Exxon Valdez.

 

photo credit : Fred Felleman