Since 2016, the Port has worked to protect the killer whales from underwater noise pollution.
Since 2016, the Port of Vancouver has implemented a program to reduce underwater noise from ships to protect the whales. The program is called Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program and is referred to as ECHO.
This year, the port has expanded the area of protection, and ECHO will cover 80 nautical miles of the Salish Sea and other waters. This will be the largest area of coverage by the program since its inception.
According to a press release, the measures – which include asking vessels to slow down or keep distance from killer whales within ECHO zones – will run from June to November.
Coverage areas this year include Swiftsure Bank (the newly expanded zone this year), Haro Strait, Boundary Pass, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Officials say experts have identified Swiftsure Bank as a foraging area for southern resident killer whales. The area overlaps with international shipping lanes used by commercial vessels to access Vancouver.