The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority-led Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program received the Award for Conservation Leadership in Support of Corporate Responsibility at the Ocean Awards gala held at the Vancouver Aquarium. The award recognized the progressive efforts of the ECHO Program and its ability to collaboratively advance meaningful ocean conservation work.
The ECHO Program is a collaborative initiative that brings together government agencies, the marine industry, conservation and environmental groups, First Nations individuals and scientists to better understand and reduce the cumulative effects of commercial vessel-related activities on at-risk whales in this region.
Since its inception in 2014, the ECHO Program has advanced a number of world-leading research projects on reducing underwater noise from vessels and has implemented several large-scale voluntary underwater noise reduction initiatives, made possible because of the collaborations of many partners and participants.
In the last few years, over 5,000 vessel passes have been measured, accumulating the biggest database of vessel noise measurements in the world. Over the last two summers, nearly 2,000 deep sea vessels slowed down in Haro Strait to reduce underwater noise in this important southern resident killer whale feeding area.
In 2017, based on results of research studies undertaken by the ECHO Program, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority introduced underwater noise reduction incentives to quiet vessels calling at the Port of Vancouver, making Canada the first country in the world with a marine noise reduction incentive.