Research has shown that underwater noise from vessels is significantly reduced by slowing down, which makes foraging for food easier for the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW). The ECHO Program promotes voluntary slowdowns in Haro Straight and Boundary Pass, which this year, may start as early as June 1. Marine mammal observers and hydrophones will begin monitoring the slowdown area on June 1 and, similar to past years, the slowdown will officially begin once SRKW are confirmed to be in the area. Participants will be notified by email once the slowdown is activated.
Ships travelling through Haro Strait and Boundary Pass—key foraging areas for the southern resident killer whales—are asked to slow down to the recommended speed target for the vessel type:
- 14.5 kn or less speed through the water for vehicle carriers, cruise ships and container vessels
- 11.5 kn or less speed through the water for bulkers, tankers, ferries and government vessels
The slowdown will continue until October 1; if whales remain in the area, the slowdown may be extended to no later than October 31. See more information here: ECHO Program infographic