The Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Programme is a Vancouver Fraser Port Authority-led initiative aimed at better understanding and managing the impact of shipping activities on at-risk whales throughout the southern coast of British Columbia.
The long-term goal of the ECHO Programme is to develop mitigation measures that will lead to a quantifiable reduction in potential threats to whales as a result of shipping activities. The initiative aims to save the tightly location-specific population of southern resident killer whales which number 74 currently, a 30-year low.
The programme started in 2017 and continued in 2018. During the months of the trial, vessels were reducing speed to less than 12 knots during transits of sensitive areas.
CNCo participated in this voluntary speed reduction initiative on West Coast Canada under the ECHO Programme to do its part for the recovery and survival of killer whales. The speed reduction applied to a small area named Haro Strait. This is a 16.6 nautical mile distance in the Southern Pilotage waters. With speed reduction and depending on vessel type, transit times may increase between 11 and 18 minutes.
“We are really proud to be part of this voluntary programme in the on-going efforts for the recovery and survival of the killer whale population. We hope our efforts will help, as part of our wider commitment to playing a positive role in the communities we work and live in,” said Frank Leigh-Spencer, Port Captain North America, CNCo.
CNCo continues to support the UK National Oceanography Centre through a multi-year SNOMS programme, a part of the ocean monitoring project, by installing monitoring equipment on board one of our liner vessels. CNCo sponsored the upgrading and reinstallation of the SNOMS data collection box and the on-going operational data collection expenses. The measuring devices were installed on MV Shengking in 2016 to provide vital data on the oceans’ ability to slow the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and mitigate ocean acidification leading to coral bleaching and threatening some crustacean species.
Data collection was on-going but was suspended from September till December 2018 to permit an upgrade to the new plastic housing to reduce damage to the connectors and sensors and will resume in 2019.