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ECHO program’s 2018 slowdown initiative

July 12, 2018

As of July 12, commercial vessels are encouraged to slow down through Haro Strait at the Port of Vancouver since the presence of southern resident killer whales has been confirmed. Learning from last year’s vessel slowdown trial, this year’s adaptive approach strives to reduce shipping noise whenever the whales are in the area. Based on the analysis of the 2017 data, the ECHO Program has identified optimum speeds for different vessel types to reduce underwater noise levels and maximize vessel participation. Where it is safe and operationally feasible, vessels are encouraged to transit Haro Strait at the following water speeds: 15 knots or less for vehicle carriers, cruise lines and container vessels, and 12.5 knots or less for bulkers, tankers, Washington State ferries and government vessels. To date, 54 organizations have confirmed their intention to participate in the program designed to reduce underwater noise that began July 12 and continues until at least September 15. It may be extended until October 31 if killer whales remain in the area.