Killer whale scientists call for a quieter Salish Sea

Southern Resident killer whales need a quieter ocean to feed, communicate and survive

Twenty killer whale scientists have written a letter to the Canadian federal government calling on them to produce a concrete, funded, science-based plan and a schedule for reducing underwater noise in the Salish Sea.

The acoustic environment of the Salish Sea is already highly degraded relative to pre-industrial conditions. As a result, the southern residents are exposed to vessel noise the majority of the time they are in their designated critical habitat, during which their communication space is significantly reduced.

Vessel disturbance and noise are associated with a substantial reduction in foraging activity, limiting their food acquisition abilities. In what is already a food-compromised environment, the scientists state that this foraging impairment is not sustainable. Vessel noise is also likely to adversely affect the southern residents in other material ways, such as by masking and altering calls that are vital to their communication and by inducing chronic stress.

Download the letter Scientists statement: Salish Sea 12 April 2017 (PDF)