Puget Sound Killer Whale ESA Recovery Plan

In May 2003, NOAA Fisheries designated the Eastern North Pacific Southern Resident stock of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in Puget Sound as depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The agency also announced preparation of an MMPA conservation plan to restore the stock to its optimal sustainable population.

Soon after NOAA Fisheries released the proposed Marine Mammal Protection Act conservation plan for Puget Sound killer whales, the agency listed these orcas under the Endangered Species Act. The ESA requires preparation of a recovery plan. The Northwest Region took the proposed MMPA conservation plan, addressed comments on it, and incorporated Endangered Species Act elements into a proposed ESA recovery plan, which was released for comment in November 2006. The agency incorporated comments and new research results and references, then finalized and released an ESA Recovery Plan (pdf format 1.7MB) for Puget Sound killer whales in January 2008.

Once the plan was in place, the Northwest Region continued actions to protect orcas, and to track actions that others are taking. See our Recovery Plan Implementation Web section for more information, and to report your efforts on behalf of Puget Sound killer whales.

Links to other conservation efforts that support killer whale recovery:

Canada's Killer Whale Recovery Strategy

Puget Sound Partnership

Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Plan