Sandy Buckley
Southern Resident killer whales

Southern Resident killer whales

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Background / introduction


Photo: CWR


Photo: Sandy Buckley


Our Projects

Photo: MERS

The Whale Warning Flag

The historical core habitat of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale is located in the heart of the Salish Sea in San Juan County.

The Whale Warning flag is a social prompt aimed at improving boater awareness and behavior when boats are in the vicinity of whales or transiting through waters frequented by whales.

Know The Zone!

In 2018 the MRC extended the Voluntary No-Go Zone on the west side of San Juan Island down to Cattle Point. This Voluntary No-Go Zone is part of the Marine Stewardship Area.

This Voluntary No-Go Zone encompasses historically sensitive foraging and resting areas for the endangered Southern Resident killer whale. 

The zone extends 1/4 mile offshore from Mitchel Point to Cattle Point, with a 1/2 mile buffer around Lime Kiln Point State Park. 

The zone is in place throughout the year for all boats, at all times, and is recognized by the Pacific Whale Watch Association and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

During 2018, kayaks launching from the San Juan County Park within the Voluntary No-Go Zone operate under a special use permit issued by the County Park. This requires that kayaks participate in the Kayak Education and Leadership Program (K.E.L.P). This program was developed in 2010 by County Parks, The Whale Museum, and the kayak industry.

To learn more about the Marine Stewardship area see:

Community Workshop

In October 2017 we held a community workshop in Friday Harbor. In preparation for the workshop, the MRC conducted a public survey.

The workshop was attended by 101 individuals. The workshop explored what local government and citizens can do to protect the Southern Resident killer whale and aid their recovery.

Survey Results
Download Final Report

Southern Resident killer whales