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Restaurants cutting Chinook from the menu to help save orcas

The fight to help critically endangered whales is heading to the kitchen. Some of the most popular restaurants in our area aren't serving the orcas favorite food -- chinook or king salmon.

SEATTLE -- The fight to help critically endangered whales is heading to the kitchen. Some of the most popular restaurants in our area aren't serving the orcas favorite food -- Chinook or king salmon.

On a bustling Saturday night, one thing is not being served up at Vine and Spoon or Alchemy in West Seattle -- Chinook salmon.

Owners said a customer brought up the plight of the whales and the images of mother orca J-35 grieving her dead calf for weeks and J-50 struggling to survive compelled them to join other restaurants taking a stand.

“It’s an easy sacrifice to make,” said Matt Mead, Marketing Director for Vine and Spoon. “The plight of the orcas right now is so tragic so important to maintain their food resource it was very simple and no-brainer to take off the king salmon from our menu to help our environment.”

Chinook (king) salmon are the primary prey for Puget Sound orcas.

Researchers said in recent years the Chinook population is dwindling and what’s left isn’t as big.

At The Whale Wins and Walrus and Carpenter the owner said they axed Chinook salmon from their menus weeks ago.

For diners like Molly Vinton there’s plenty of other fish in the sea.

“I just don’t think that we are taking enough consideration of our marine life as opposed to our animal life,” Vinton said. “Chinook salmon is really delicious but I think that it’s important that we put the needs of animals that are in danger or that are at risk of being in danger before our own.”

Owners don’t think the decision will affect their bottom line. For them it’s a small sacrifice for a big cause.

“You can sell your soul and do things to make money,” Mead said. “Or you can have a positive impact on your community and find ways around that and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Owners said they won’t be serving Chinook salmon indefinitely.

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