Canada has the longest coastline in the world, serving as home to rich biodiversity and precious ecosystems. The Government of Canada is building on its historic Oceans Protection Plan, and taking immediate action to preserve and restore marine ecosystems to help endangered whale populations recover.
In June 2018, the Government of Canada announced the $167.4 million Whales Initiative that increases Transport Canada’s research and monitoring of underwater noise and vessel movement. Building on this, today, Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport announced measures to support the recovery of endangered whale populations. Transport Canada will be working with multiple partners on the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program which is looking at ways to reduce underwater noise in key areas where there are Southern Resident Killer Whales.
These $1.6 million measures will include the deployment of an underwater hydrophone at Boundary Pass in the Salish Sea. Over the coming months, the hydrophone will collect individual vessel and mammal noise profiles and the information will be used to develop measures to further support the recovery of the Southern Resident Killer Whales. In addition, with support from the National Research Council of Canada, Transport Canada will carry out a four-year project to better predict propeller noise and hull vibration of a vessel.
The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. Through this plan, the Government of Canada is creating a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coasts and waterways for generations to come. This work is being done in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities.
- In Haro Strait, a voluntary vessel slowdown in summer 2018 was built on the successful 2017 slowdown in the same area that significantly reduced underwater noise in critical habitat when Southern Resident Killer Whales were present.
- Beginning in August 2018, the Strait of Juan de Fuca lateral displacement trial has seen consistent shifts of commercial vessels away from key Southern Resident Killer Whale foraging areas.
- Transport Canada is adding an additional aircraft to its fleet for the National Aerial Surveillance Program. It is also adding a state of the art maritime search radar on each coast and infra-red sensors for all of the program’s aircraft.
- During summer 2018, there were no reported deaths of the North Atlantic right whale in Canadian waters.