Vessels transiting off Vancouver told to slow down to protect endangered whale species

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has launched a pilot project in the Haro Strait to get ships to slow down in order to protect the critically endangered southern resident killer whales.

Researchers suggest there are just 78 Salish Sea orcas left with noise pollution cited as one of the reasons the species is on the brink of extinction.

Ships transiting the Haro Strait – an important feeding ground off the east coast of Vancouver Island to San Juan Island – have now been asked not to exceed 11 knots.

The port’s Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program has already got 54 organisations to support the initiative.

The port already offers shipping lines incentives in the form of reduced port fees for vessels that have installed technology shown to reduce underwater noise.

“We have several endangered marine mammal species in the coastal waters of British Columbia and the Canadian federal government is bound legislatively to act and this industry effort is meant to inform the overall government effort,” Robert Lewis-Manning, president of Canada’s Chamber of Shipping told Splash.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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