We are now half way through the vessel slow down trial in the Salish Sea. This study with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, aims to understand how slowing ocean-going vessels will reduce ship noise in Southern Resident killer whale habitat.
This is the first study of its kind to take place and has huge potential as a means to mitigate ship noise both here in the Salish Sea and further afield.
So far, the voluntary participation has been promising. Both ourselves and the Port Authority are encouraged by the cooperation of the shipping industry and the levels of participation in the study. In the first three weeks of the study we saw more than 50% of ocean-going ships slow to the requested 11 knots through Haro Strait.
SMRU Consulting North America is taking a leading role in this ground-breaking study for the ECHO Program at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. From helping design the study to the data collection and ambient noise analysis, we will find out if slowing ships is a viable way of reducing noise in the critical habitat of endangered Southern Resident killer whales.
We are recording underwater ship noise on our calibrated Lime Kiln Live hydrophone system. We are also collecting ship data using the Automatic Identification System (AIS), an automated identification system used by ships around the world.
This week SMRU Consulting Senior Scientist Dr. Jason Wood and ECHO Program Project Manager Krista Trounce will be discussing the slow down trial at a public lecture at the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor. To learn more about the program join us for the free lecture on Thursday 7 September at 6:30pm. You can also learn more about the trial through the ECHO Program web page here.
This world first has attracted great media attention, check out some of the recent media coverage below:
- Ships slowing in busy channel to protect endangered orcas, New York Times, 3 September
- Ships slow down to protect orcas, The Columbian, 3 September
- Ships voluntarily slow down for underwater noise reduction trial – NW News Network, 30 August
- Study looks at how lower speeds affect killer whales, GoAnacortes.com, 29 August
- Vessel participation in Haro Strait slowdown trial increases in week two, Chamber of Shipping weekly newsletter, 25 August
- Three in five vessels honour Port of Vancouver go-slow request to protect killer whales, Vancouver Sun, 17 August
- Saving killer whales from noisy ships, Port Technology, 20 July
- Vancouver Port asks ships to slow down for orca research, CBC News, 20 July
- Big ships asked to slow down to reduce noise for iconic whales, Alaska Public Media, 10 July
- Port of Vancouver urges ships to go slow in global first to help endangered killer whales, Vancouver Sun, 6 July
- Big ships asked to slow down to reduce noise for iconic whales, NW News Network, 29 June