JASCO Applied Sciences has installed and is operating a new underwater listening station in the Salish Sea to track endangered whales and the underwater noise from ships. Transport Canada commissioned the tracking under the federal government’s five-year Whales Initiative, which focuses on Canada’s West Coast on improving prey availability for endangered Southern resident killer whales by enhancing underwater monitoring and reducing vessel noise disturbances.
The monitoring is being done in collaboration with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority as part of the port’s Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program. The new station works with two monitoring frames, each of them equipped with eight hydrophones (underwater microphones) and located almost 200 metres (656 feet) below the Boundary Pass shipping lanes, south of Vancouver, British Columbia. The data gathered from the station includes the species, location, and traveling direction of marine mammals.
Ultimately the goal is to use this information to automatically trigger an alert system when a vessel is nearing an area where there are whales present.
Image from JASCO Website