Marc Garneau, minister of transport, has announced $2.5-million through the Quiet Vessel Initiative to help establish and operate the Marine Acoustic Research Station (MARS) in the St. Lawrence Estuary.
“While Canada’s coasts and marine species are more protected than ever before, our Government remains committed to preserving and protecting our vulnerable marine environment,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
“The Government of Canada’s Quiet Vessel Initiative is a crucial element in helping to address the impacts of underwater vessel noise, and we look forward to developing further quiet vessel solutions in Canada with assistance from the Marine Acoustic Research Station project,” added Garneau.
The research station will be comprised of underwater hydrophones that are anchored to the sea bed, and connected to telecommunication buoys in the Laurentian Channel shipping corridor, near Rimouski, Quebec.
Results of the MARS project will inform the development of further Canadian quiet vessel solutions nationally and internationally. According to the Government of Canada, it can also be used to measure the effectiveness of innovations like new propeller designs, vessel maintenance practices, and new types of hull coatings to help reduce underwater vessel noise.
“Acquiring new knowledge about the noise generated by marine shipping is important for the protection of marine mammals in the St. Lawrence,” said Guillaume St-Onge, director of ISMER, and Sylvain Lafrance, director of Innovation maritime.
“The data from the new marine acoustic research station will make it possible to develop concrete solutions to reduce noise impacts and promote sustainable cohabitation in this exceptionally diverse marine ecosystem,” added St-Onge and Lafrance.
The Government of Canada recognizes that marine species are impacted by underwater vessel noise. Acoustic disturbances can affect their ability to find prey, navigate effectively, and communicate with each other, while also creating stress.
Through the Whales Initiative and the Quiet Vessel Initiative, the Government of Canada is taking action to mitigate the effects of anthropogenic underwater noise. It is also taking action to protect the marine environment and foster the development of new technologies, quiet vessel designs, and operational practices that reduce underwater noise.