Potential acoustic impacts of increased vessel traffic on Southern Resident Killer Whales

Analysis shows Salish Sea already too noisy for killer whales

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Clark, Christopher. 2015. Potential Acoustic Impacts of Vessel Traffic from the Trans Mountain Expansion Project on Southern Resident Killer Whales. Prepared for the Raincoast Conservation Foundation for submission to the National Energy Board reviewing the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

Download the pdf  RCF – Clark- SRKW acoustics

This expert report describes the importance of sound to killer whales; it is as important to whales as vision is to humans. As such, there are serious concerns for even more noise in their critical habitat. Southern resident killer whales produce and listen to sounds in order to establish and maintain critical life functions: to navigate, find and select mates, maintain their social network, and locate and capture prey (especially Chinook salmon). The existing level of noise has already degraded critical habitat and studies suggest it has reduced the feeding efficiency of these whales.  The Trans Mountain Project will increase noise levels with adverse affects to southern resident killer whales.


Author Affiliation

Christopher Clark, Ph.D.

I.P Johnson Senior Scientist, Bioacoustics Research Program, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Senior Scientist, Department of Neurobiology and Behaviour Cornell University Ithaca, NY