The Port of Seattle, Port of Tacoma, Northwest Seaport Alliance, Washington State Ferries, NOAA, and the Puget Sound Partnership gathered along with experts and shipping stakeholders to address ways to reduce noise pollution in efforts to protect the endangered population of Southern Resident killer whales.
Data from the National Marine Fisheries Service present that the rate of whale entanglements in fishing year in the US West Coast has decreased by half in 2019, from 2018’s 40 incidents during January-August, to 18 incidents the same period this year.
According to the Canadian Government, the Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, issued a statement based on unfortunate deaths of many North Atlantic right whales in Canadian waters; Because of this, he implemented a precautionary speed restriction of 10 knots, for vessels of 20 metres and more, that sail in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the two designated shipping lanes north and south of Anticosti Island.
Transport Canada has implemented new seasonal speed restriction zones that ships must follow in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence. Canada has put these zones in place to reduce the risk of fatal strikes to North Atlantic right whales by transiting vessels. Vessels must proceed at a speed of not more than 10 knots over the ground in the speed restriction zones.
A joint project between Equinor Wind US, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was launched, aiming to expand the detection and monitoring of whale species found in the waters of New York Bight.
A group of environmental organizations in Iceland sent an open letter to their Parliament protesting the Government’s decision to allow whale hunting until at least 2023. The letter is signed by Gaia Iceland, Jarðarvinir, Reykjavik Animal Save, Reykjavik Whale Save, Samtök grænkera á Íslandi, Sea Shepherd Iceland, SEEDS Iceland and Stop Whaling in Iceland.
The B.C. government will continue expanding its ferry routes, despite National Energy Board’s statement that specifically BC Ferries generate ship noise that threatens the endangered southern resident killer whales. Although there is a plan to reduce underwater noise, BC ferries alerts that the change will be slow.
CSIRO published a research according to which the abundance of krill could impact future whale populations in the Southern Hemisphere such as Blue, Southern Right and Fin whale. The impact of whaling from the previous century drove a number of whale species almost to extinction, with some species still below their pre-whaling numbers.
Gard, in light of February 16 being ‘World Whale Day’, published a revision on US and Canadian regulations and recommendations concerning whales, aiming at reducing collisions between North Atlantic right whales and ships. ‘World Whale Day’ held annually on the third Saturday in February, was founded in Maui, Hawaii, in 1980, to honour humpback whales, which swim off its coast.
The Canadian based Chamber of Shipping and the United States based Pacific Merchant Shipping Association will cooperate to ensure safe and sustainable shipping on the Pacific Northwest and the Salish Sea. These areas are considered key gateways for marine commerce in Canada and the US. Both organizations will take part in the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s ECHO program.
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