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ECHO Program relaunches vessel slowdown after last year’s efforts almost halved noise

May 10, 2021

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority-led ECHO Program is again coordinating the voluntary slowdown of vessels in specific waterways inhabited during the summer into the late fall by the endangered Southern resident killer whales. The renewed initiative follows last year’s slowdowns successfully decreasing underwater sound intensity in critical whale habitat areas by almost 50%.

In the Haro Strait and Boundary Pass, this year’s slowdown could start as early as June 1 and go up to November 30. Target speeds for bulkers, tankers and government vessels is 11 knots, which is half a knot slower than in 2020. The 14.5 knots speed for vehicle carriers, cruise ships and container vessels will remain the same.

The Swiftsure Bank slowdown is scheduled to run from June 1 to October 31 with the same speed limitations applying as in the other areas designated for the slowdowns.

Additional pilotage costs incurred by participants in any of the slowdown areas will be paid directly to the Pacific Pilotage Authority by Transport Canada to eliminate the paperwork for ship owners and agents.

Click here for more information on the 2021 slowdown trials and for results of past years’ initiatives.

Image from Vancouver Fraser Port Authority