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Port Metro Vancouver selects JASCO to help mitigate vessel noise impact on marine mammals in British Columbia

JASCO Observer systems deployed in the Strait of Georgia near Port Metro Vancouver to study the effects of vessel noise on marine mammals.  Photo courtesy of Port Metro Vancouver.

JASCO Observer systems deployed in the Strait of Georgia near Port Metro Vancouver to study the effects of vessel noise on marine mammals. 
Photo courtesy of Port Metro Vancouver.

JASCO Applied Sciences (Canada) Ltd has been selected by Port Metro Vancouver and Ocean Networks Canada (see PMV's News Release) to provide real-time passive acoustic monitoring of vessel traffic in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia, Canada, in order to study the potential impacts of shipping noise on marine mammals.

Two listening stations—each composed of an AMAR Observer with a small spatial array of hydrophones and a sound projector—were deployed on the main inbound shipping route to Vancouver. These two stations are connected to shore via Ocean Networks Canada’s VENUS fibre optic cabled subsea observatory, which allows automated systems ashore to measure and characterize underwater sounds in the Strait of Georgia in real time. The sound projectors calibrate and test the receiving arrays and will be useful in future planned experiments in underwater communications and navigation. The newly deployed listening stations form part of the Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program.

Vessel noise levels will be measured with consistency because marine pilots have been instructed to have every major ship approaching Vancouver pass near the AMAR Observers at a prescribed range. The listening stations will also be used to acoustically study marine mammals’ behaviour and their responses to vessels.

The real-time data collected will be automatically processed to characterize ambient noise, measure vessel-radiated noise, and detect and track marine mammals. The data will be processed by JASCO’s acoustic analysis software framework; the resulting information will be shared publicly through a new web-based visualization toolkit.

JASCO is pleased to be part of this initiative that aims to protect British Columbia’s unique and valuable marine ecosystem and expands the company’s record of advanced use of acoustic technology for environmental conservation.