The well-meant plans of Gov. Jay Inslee’s orca task force fall short of doing anything about the most immediate threat: not enough food.

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Puget Sound’s resident pods of killer whales have been struggling for survival and, in response, a task force set up by Gov. Jay Inslee has come up with a list of 36 steps to be taken to save the orcas. Unfortunately, the well-meant plan misses one suggestion that might do more to mitigate the most immediate threat: not enough food.

What the orcas need most is more chinook salmon. There are many reasons not enough of these fish are swimming through the waters where the killer whales feed, but one cause of the scarcity is commercial and tribal fishing. The task force did not propose any immediate limits on the number of salmon hauled in for humans to eat, and immediate relief is what the orcas need.

By the time other, more indirect solutions kick in, it may be too late to save Puget Sound’s killer whales.

This post was corrected to note that the task force has some recommendations that address food sources for orcas and that commercial and tribal fishing are among sources of food scarcity and not the main one.

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