July 1, 2002 – The Fisheries Service announced that Puget Sound’s killer whales were “not significant” enough to warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Center responded by partnering with nearly a dozen other conservation groups to file a lawsuit against the agency for its failure to protect the whales.
2003 – The courts found the Fisheries Service’s 2002 announcement to be unlawful, thereby forcing the agency to reverse its decision and take steps toward species protection.
November 18, 2005 – The southern resident population of killer whales was listed as endangered.
November 29, 2006 – A total of 2,500 square miles of Puget Sound, Haro Strait, and Juan de Fuca Strait was designated as critical habitat for the Puget Sound killer whale.
November 26, 2012 – The National Marine Fisheries Service announced it would consider a petition to remove Endangered Species Act protections for Puget Sound’s killer whales.
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