The Canadian Coast Guard launched a first-of-its-kind Marine Mammal Desk co-located within the CCG’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre in Sidney, British Columbia.
The new Marine Mammal Desk will report whale sightings in real time and advise vessel traffic by providing enhanced situational awareness of the activities of Southern Resident Killer Whales and other cetaceans, such as humpback and grey whales. Staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the new Marine Mammal Desk leverages modern technologies including radar and Automatic Identification Systems and real-time vessel movement information. It will support partners like Transport Canada by safe keeping Southern Resident Killer Whale Interim Sanctuary Zones for compliance by commercial vessels and pleasure craft. Any violations will be reported to enforcement agencies for disciplinary action.
The Marine Mammal Desk will also take reports of Southern Resident Killer Whales and other cetacean sightings from sources such as CCG vessels, light stations, and aircraft operated by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the CCG and Transport Canada. This information will be forwarded to on-water enforcement agencies to ensure the protection of the mammals as well as reported to the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network. The data collected will help inform Canada’s decisions for future protection initiatives.