Real-time underwater sound monitoring of Bay of Fundy tidal berth sites

An AMAR Observer deployed on FORCE’s Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology mini-platform (mini-FAST).

An AMAR Observer deployed on FORCE’s Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology mini-platform (mini-FAST).

JASCO has begun monitoring and measuring underwater sound at the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) tidal energy berth sites in the Bay of Fundy, Parrsboro, Nova Scotia.

The cabled monitoring system, designed and assembled in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, is “world-leading ocean technology that helps protect our marine environment,” said Scott Carr, CEO of JASCO Applied Sciences. It is deployed on FORCE’s Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology mini-platform, an underwater framework that captures data from the site with onboard sensing equipment. “To harness the enormous power of the Bay of Fundy responsibly, we have to understand it. The FAST platforms give us a clearer, moment-by-moment picture of what’s happening under the water,” said FORCE general manager Tony Wright.

A key component of the sensing platform is JASCO’s AMAR Observer, an advanced underwater sound monitor that streams data ashore in real time. Real-time monitoring allows the sound measurements to be matched to their sources such as construction events, passing vessels, and marine fauna. The Observer’s three hydrophones continually measure the ambient noise environment and man-made sounds at the FORCE site. Underwater sounds picked up by the Observer are sent to shore in real-time through a fibre optic telemetry system, developed by EMO Marine Technologies.

This work complements JASCO’s previous and ongoing environmental acoustics work in the Bay of Fundy and at the FORCE site. JASCO has other acoustic systems deployed near Grand Manan Island that characterize the underwater sound environment near Saint John, New Brunswick.

Scientists, environmental stakeholders, and the public soon will be able to listen to the soundscape of the new monitoring location from the FORCE Visitor Centre web site. Initiatives such as this help us better understand the Bay of Fundy ecosystem and thus minimize environmental impacts.