Protecting vulnerable marine mammals is a priority for the Government of Canada. Marine mammals, including the Southern Resident killer whale, are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of underwater vessel noise. Furthermore, the Government of Canada recognizes that Southern Resident killer whales face imminent threats to their survival, and that saving these iconic marine mammals requires comprehensive and immediate action.
Protecting the health of our marine environment also ensures that Canada’s oceans economy can continue to grow in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way. Through Innovative Solutions Canada challenges from Transport Canada, the Government is funding three research projects to develop new technologies to reduce underwater vessel noise.
Development of quiet depth finder technology
- Funding of $150,000 will help Envisioning Labs Inc. develop a novel depth-finder technology that uses light detection and ranging (LiDAR)—rather than traditional sonar—to measure the depth of water beneath small recreational vessels. This technology would ensure safe recreational navigation on water while reducing underwater noise impacts on marine mammals.
Protecting the Southern Resident killer whale: Reducing underwater noise from escort tugs
- Funding of $150,000 will help Robert Allan Ltd. implement a quiet propeller and propulsion system in conjunction with an innovative tool to evaluate and predict underwater vessel noise from escort tugs. This tool could help vessel owner-operators understand and predict the underwater noise being generated by their tugs, and to implement effective mitigation strategies.
- Funding of $149,800 will help BPE Technologies Inc. develop a novel retrofit design concept for tugs which aims to improve water flow around the vessel’s hull, resulting in increased efficiency and reduced underwater noise.
Addressing underwater noise from escort tugs operating in the Salish Sea is particularly important. While they play an important role in ensuring the safety of commercial shipping in the region, they are also a significant contributor to vessel noise.