Arrow-right Camera
News >  Washington

New flag meant to protect endangered Southern Resident orcas

An orca whale leaps out of the water near a whale watching boat in the Salish Sea on July 31, 2015, in the San Juan Islands, Wash. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
An orca whale leaps out of the water near a whale watching boat in the Salish Sea on July 31, 2015, in the San Juan Islands, Wash. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. – A new “whale warning flag” will be flown by boats and select land stations along the west side of San Juan Island starting this weekend to let boaters know whales are in the area.

KCPQ-TV reported that according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the yellow and red flags featuring a black whale tail are part of new San Juan County initiatives to increase protection of endangered Southern Resident orcas.

Studies have shown that boat noise impacts Southern Resident orcas trying to eat, and whale advocates hope the flag will get people to be more cautious.

Other guidelines call for whale-watching vessels to stay farther away from certain areas.

The Washington department of Fish and Wildlife is asking for recreational boaters to do the same.

Earlier this year, Gov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order for increased protection of the Southern Resident.


Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter

There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com

You have been successfully subscribed!


Top stories in Washington

Students go broke for a day: Poverty simulation helps WSU students understand challenges

new  About 25 students were thrown in jail, got fired from their jobs, bartered with a pawn shop owner and tried to survive natural disasters Wednesday at the Washington State University Compton Union Building. It was all part of a poverty simulation organized by the WSU Center for Civic Engagement to help students better understand the everyday challenges of being poor.