Warning This Web page has been archived on the Web.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards, as per the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity.

Skip booklet index and go to page content

Recovery Strategy for the Transient Killer Whale [Proposed]


The transient population of killer whales are marine mammals and are under the jurisdiction of the federal government.  The Species at Risk Act (SARA, Section 37) requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered or threatened species. The transient population of killer whales was listed as threatened under SARA at proclamation on June 5, 2003.  Fisheries and Oceans Canada – Pacific Region led the development of this recovery strategy. The strategy meets SARA requirements in terms of content and process (Sections 39-41).

The following includes individuals on the technical team, and others whose feedback was officially sought in the Technical Workshop, but does not include participants in the Stakeholder Recovery Forum or feedback provided at consultations or meetings.  The following individuals participated in the Technical Workshop held in January 2007 in Vancouver, B.C.:  M. Joyce, A. Greene, J. Ford, P. Ross, P. Olesiuk, K. West, T. Lee, J. Durban, S. Raverty, L. Barrett-Lennard, K. Heise, J. Straley, V. Deecke, D. Ellifrit, A. Trites, and R. Galbraith.


Fisheries and Oceans Canada has developed its recovery strategy for the transient killer whale as required by the Species at Risk Act. This proposed recovery strategy has been prepared in cooperation with jurisdictions responsible for the species, as described in the Preface.

Success in the recovery of this species depends on the commitment and cooperation of many different constituencies that will be involved in implementing the directions set out in this strategy and will not be achieved byFisheries and Oceans Canada or any other jurisdiction alone. In the spirit of the Accord for the Protection of Species at Risk, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans invites all Canadians to join Fisheries and Oceans Canada in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the transient killer whale and Canadian society as a whole. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will support implementation of this strategy to the extent possible, given available resources and its overall responsibility for species at risk conservation. Implementation of the strategy by other participating jurisdictions and organizations is subject to their respective policies, appropriations, priorities, and budgetary constraints.

The goals, objectives and recovery approaches identified in the strategy are based on the best existing knowledge and are subject to modifications resulting from new information. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans will report on progress within five years.

This strategy will be complemented by one or more action plans that will provide details on specific recovery measures to be taken to support conservation of the species. The Minister will take steps to ensure that, to the extent possible, Canadians directly affected by these measures will be consulted.

Responsible Jurisdictions

The responsible jurisdiction for the transient killer whale is Fisheries and Oceans Canada.  The population occurs off the coast of the province of British Columbia and the within areas of that Parks Canada, Environment Canada, the Department of National Defence, Natural Resource Canada and Transport Canada and the province of British Columbia have jurisdiction for activities or a role in supporting transient killer whale recovery.  These agencies have all cooperated in the development of this recovery strategy.


Kathy Heise was contracted to research and draft the background section of this strategy.  The DFO Technical team (see Appendix D) developed the Recovery section, with the contributions of those acknowledged below who participated in a technical workshop. 


Fisheries and Oceans Canada is grateful for the generous contributions of Lance Barrett-Lennard, Volker Deecke, John Durban, Dave Ellifrit, Kathy Heise, Peter Olesiuk, Steven Raverty, Janice Straley, and Andrew Trites for their contributions through participating in a technical workshop to review this document, consider research needs and evaluate threats. 

Strategic Environmental Assessmentstatement

The purpose of a SEA is to incorporate environmental considerations into the development of public policies, plans, and program proposals to support environmentally-sound decision making.

Recovery planning is intended to benefit species at risk and biodiversity in general. However, it is recognized that strategies may also inadvertently lead to environmental effects beyond the intended benefits. The planning process based on national guidelines directly incorporates consideration of all environmental effects, with a particular focus on possible impacts on non-target species or habitats.

This recovery strategy will clearly benefit the environment by promoting the recovery of the transient killer whales. The potential for the strategy to inadvertently lead to adverse effects on other species was considered. The SEA concluded that this strategy will clearly benefit the environment and will not entail any significant adverse effects. Refer to the following sections of the document in particular: Habitat and Biological Requirements, Ecological Role and Limiting Factors.  


SARA defines residence as: “a dwelling-place, such as a den, nest or other similar area or place, that is occupied or habitually occupied by one or more individuals during all or part of their life cycles, including breeding, rearing, staging, wintering, feeding or hibernating[SARA S2(1)].

Residence descriptions, or the rationale for why the residence concept does not apply to a given species, are posted on the SARA public registry: http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/plans/residence_e.cfm