2018 underwater noise reduction initiatives

Underwater noise reduction initiatives have concluded for 2018

October 31 marked the last day of the Haro Strait voluntary vessel slowdown and the Strait of Juan de Fuca lateral displacement trial for 2018. Overall results of both initiatives will be available in spring 2019.

For up-to-date information, please subscribe to the ECHO program newsletter.

In 2018, the Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program undertook two key initiatives which focused on reducing underwater noise from large commercial vessels within designated critical habitat for the endangered southern resident killer whale population.

Slowing down for the whales

The remaining 74 southern resident killer whales are listed as endangered under both the Species at Risk Act in Canada and the Endangered Species Act in the U.S. Both countries’ governments have highlighted the need to develop and implement measures to reduce underwater noise generated by vessels which research indicates can interfere with whales’ ability to hunt, navigate and communicate with each other.

In 2017, the voluntary vessel slowdown trial in Haro Strait demonstrated that reducing vessel speeds is an effective way of reducing the underwater noise generated at the vessel source, as well as reducing total underwater noise in nearby habitats which may in turn benefit the behaviour and feeding success of the southern resident killer whale.

The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, as the Minister responsible for Parks Canada Agency, recently formed the opinion that the SRKW is facing imminent threats to its survival and recovery. With this in mind, a refined approach was proposed for voluntary vessel slowdown action in Haro Strait in 2018 which utilized different vessel speeds and a dynamic slowdown start and end date in an effort to both maximize vessel participation and benefit to the whales.

What was new this year?

Speed

Based on analysis of 2017 information, the ECHO Program identified optimum speeds for different vessel types to reduce underwater noise levels and maximize vessel participation. Where it was safe and operationally feasible, vessels were encouraged to transit Haro Strait at the following speeds through the water:

Transiting Haro Strait (see figure of slowdown and transition areas below) at these reduced speeds could add between 9 and 15 minutes to the total transit time, depending on the vessel type.

Dynamic trial start and end dates

Between July 1 and October 31, 2018, the shipping industry participated in a voluntary vessel slowdown in Haro Strait. The slowdown began once the southern resident killer whales were confirmed as present within Haro Strait by hydrophone data and trusted observers. The slowdown ended October 31, 2018 and was communicated to mariners through a Notice to Shipping and via the Pacific Pilotage Authority, BC Coast Pilots, shipping associations and agents, and on this webpage and the ECHO newsletter.

Vessel participation

With varied vessel speeds and reduced anticipated delay times, we encouraged all vessels to participate where possible. Participation rates by sector was reported on regularly throughout the slowdown in the ECHO newsletter.

Same as last year

Location

The slowdown area in Haro Strait between Discovery Island and Henry Island was unchanged from 2017. Vessels were encouraged to use the transition zones to slow down to the appropriate speed prior to entering the trial boundary. The trial distance is 16.6nm inbound, 14.9nm outbound. Download the map here.

Monitoring

Similar to 2017, the ECHO Program monitored underwater noise levels before, during and after the trial using the hydrophone located at Lime Kiln. Southern resident killer whale presence was monitored and recorded by hydrophone and human observers. Vessel participation rates was reported by the Pacific Pilotage Authority and was also monitored by AIS data. Following the end of the slowdown on October 31, 2018, an analysis will be conducted by the ECHO Program to evaluate the effectiveness of the initiative.

Resources

2018 Haro Strait slowdown backgrounder
Agent decision matrix
Pilot decision matrix
Slowdown area map

Questions or feedback

For more information on the slowdown please contact the ECHO Program team at [email protected] or Vancouver Fraser Port Authority Operations Center which is available 24/7 at 604.665.9086. Visit the ECHO program website for more information.

Subscribe to receive regular updates about the voluntary vessel slowdown

Thank you to the following organizations who supported or participated in the voluntary vessel slow down this summer:


ACGI Shipping Inc.
BC Coast Pilots
Canadian Coast Guard
Canpotex Shipping Services Limited
Canship Ugland
Carnival Cruise Line
Celebrity Cruises
Chamber of Shipping
CMA CGM
CMA CGM Canada
Council of Marine Carriers
Colley West Shipping Ltd
Compagnie du Ponant
COSCO Shipping Line Canada Inc.
Cruise Lines International Association – North West & Canada
Crystal Cruises
CSL International Ltd
Disney Cruise Line
Evergreen Line
Fairmont Shipping (Canada) Ltd
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
G2 Ocean
Hamburg Sud
Hapag-Lloyd Canada Inc.
Hapag-Lloyd
Holland America Line
Hudson Shipping Lines
Hyundai America Shipping Agency
Inchcape Shipping Services Inc.
International Ship-owners Alliance of Canada
Intercruises Shoreside & Port Services
“K” Line Canada Ltd.
LBH Shipping Canada Inc.
Maersk line
Mason Agency Ltd.
McLean Kennedy
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)
MOL Chemical Tankers (America)
MOL ACE (Americas)
Montship Inc.
Navitrans Shipping Agency
Neptune Bulk Terminals (Canada) Ltd.
NORDEN Shipping (Canada)
Norton Lilly International Inc.
Norwegian Cruise Line
NYK Line (North America) Inc.
Ocean Network Express (Canada) Inc.
Oceania Cruises
Oldendorff Carriers
OOCL
OOCL Canada
Oxbow Sulphur Canada
Pacific Basin Shipping
Pacific Merchant Shipping Association
Pacific Northwest Ship & Cargo Services
Pacific Pilotage Authority
PONANT
Prestige Cruise Holdings Inc.
Princess Cruise Line
Ravensdown Shipping Services Pty Ltd
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Robert Reford
Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Caribbean International
SAAM SMIT Vancouver Inc.
Saga Welco AS
Seabourn Sojourn
Seaspan ULC
Shipping Federation of Canada
Silversea Cruises  Ltd.
Sinotrans Canada Inc.
SM Line Corporation
Teekay Shipping
The China Navigation Co. Pte. Ltd
TORMAR Inc.
Trans-Oceanic Shipping
Transport Canada
Valles Steamship (Canada) Ltd.
Washington State Ferries
Westward Shipping Ltd.
Westwood Shipping Lines
Whale Museum
Wheelhouse Shipping Agency
Wilhelmsen Ship Service
Zim Integrated Shipping Services

 

The Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program and Transport Canada supported by U.S. Coast Guard, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Canadian and U.S. marine transportation industry, Aboriginal individuals and environmental and conservation groups, undertook a voluntary trial in 2018 to study how laterally displacing vessels away from known southern resident killer whale (SRKW) feeding areas would affect the underwater noise levels in those areas.

DFO identified the northern side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca as key SRKW feeding areas. This is the geographic area in which the ECHO Program asked commercial vessels to participate in the voluntary lateral displacement trial. The overall purpose of the trial was to reduce vessel noise impacts in these key SRKW feeding areas. Participation was not expected to impact vessel transit time or fuel consumption rates.

The voluntary trial began on August 20, 2018 and ended on October 31, 2018.

During the trial, vessel participation rates was monitored using AIS data and regular updates were provided via the ECHO Program newsletter. Underwater noise will be measured before, during and after the trial using a number of DFO hydrophones located in key foraging areas of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Following the conclusion of the trial, a full analysis is being conducted by the ECHO Program to evaluate results and provide feedback which can inform next steps.

Resources for deep sea traffic

Lateral displacement backgrounder
Lateral displacement map – deep-sea traffic
Lateral displacement cheat sheet – deep-sea traffic
Lateral displacement instructional postcard – deep-sea traffic – ENGLISH
Lateral displacement instructional postcard – deep sea traffic – CANTONESE
Lateral displacement instructional postcard – deep sea traffic – GREEK
Lateral displacement instructional postcard – deep sea traffic – JAPANESE
Lateral displacement instructional postcard – deep sea traffic – KOREAN
Lateral displacement instructional postcard – deep sea traffic – MANDARIN
Lateral displacement instructional postcard – deep sea traffic – SPANISH
Lateral displacement instructional postcard – deep sea traffic – TAGALOG

Resources for inshore traffic

Lateral displacement backgrounder
Lateral displacement map – inshore traffic
Lateral displacement participation cheat sheet – inshore traffic
Lateral displacement postcard – inshore traffic

These resources are available in Spanish, Mandarin, and Tagalog and are available upon request by emailing [email protected].

Thank you to the following organizations who supported or participated in the Strait of Juan de Fuca voluntary lateral displacement trial this summer:


ACGI Shipping Inc.
Alaska Tanker Company, LLC.
American Waterways Operators
BC Coast Pilots
Canadian Coast Guard Western – Marine Communications & Traffic Services
Carnival Cruise Line
Celebrity Cruises
Chamber of Shipping
CMA CGM Canada
Colley West Shipping Ltd
Cruise Lines International Association – North West & Canada
Disney Cruise Line
Evergreen Line
G2 Ocean
Hamburg Sud
Hapag-Lloyd
Holland America Line
Hudson Shipping Lines, Inc.
Maersk Line
Marine Exchange of Puget Sound
Mason Agency Ltd.
Mediterranean Shipping Company SA
MOL Chemical Tankers America Inc
Montship Inc.
Norton Lilly International Inc.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Ocean Network Express (Canada) Inc
Oceania Cruises
Oldendorff Carriers
OOCL
Pacific Basin Shipping
Pacific Merchant Shipping Association
Pacific Northwest Ship & Cargo Services
Pacific Pilotage Authority
PONANT
Princess Cruise Line
Puget Sound Partnership
Puget Sound Pilots
Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Services
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Robert Reford
Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Caribbean International
Seabourn Sojourn
Seaspan ULC
Shipping Federation of Canada
SilverSea Cruises
Sinotrans Canada Inc.
The China Navigation Co. Pte. Ltd
Trans-Oceanic Shipping
United States Coast Guard
Valles Steamship (Canada) Ltd.
Westward Shipping Ltd
Westwood Shipping Lines
Wilhelmsen Ships Service
Zim Integrated Shipping Services

Resources

ECHO Program

Newsletters

Newsletter #14 – November 15, 2018
Newsletter #13 – November 1, 2018
Newsletter #12 – October 18, 2018
Newsletter #11 – October 4, 2018
Newsletter #10 – September 21, 2018
Newsletter #9 – September 5, 2018
Newsletter #8 – August 22, 2018
Newsletter #7 – August 15, 2018
Newsletter #6 – August 7, 2018
Newsletter #5 – July 31, 2018
Newsletter #4 – July 24, 2018
Newsletter #3 – July 12, 2018
Newsletter #2 – June 28, 2018
Newsletter #1 – June 20, 2018

Please check this page for up-to-date information about our underwater noise reduction initiatives including resources, announcements and changes. Or subscribe to receive regular updates.