SAN JUAN ISLANDS -- Some incredible video shows an orca hunting a sea lion right here in Puget Sound.
Traci Walter from Western Prince Whale Watching sent Q13 News this video taken Tuesday near San Juan Island.
You can see a mother orca teaching her calves how to hunt.
‘Whale protection zone’ along San Juan Island?
Would a “whale protection zone” on the western side of San Juan Island protect endangered Southern resident orcas from a constant barrage of boats that disrupt feeding, navigation and communication for the whales?
Or, would a zone hurt the area tourist industry and local boaters, doing little to improve the fate of the whales as they struggle to find food?
The zone off the west side of San Juan Island would extend three-quarter miles offshore with an extra quarter-mile buffer zone. It would ban whale watching boats, and commercial and private craft in the zones.
Three Washington state environmental groups -- Orca Relief Citizens’ Alliance, Seawolf and Center for Biological Diversity -- petitioned the federal government in November to create the zone.
By April, NOAA had received more than 850 public comments on the proposal which would implement a whale protection zone.
A similar zone was considered in 2009, but did not go ahead because of strong opposition.
It will take NOAA at least a couple of months to sort through the comments and make a decision whether or not to move forward.
"NOAA could easily come out and say, 'No, we don't think there is the support necessary' and it's over," said Scott West, with Orca Relief Citizens' Alliance. "NOAA could come out and say yes we think this is a good idea, while there is opposition, there is support so let's get into a rule making phase."