Livestream from Pender Island: eyes and ears on whales

Raincoast Conservation Foundation has launched the Whale Sanctuary Livestream.

Killer whale surfacing during a sun set.

Raincoast Conservation Foundation’s Whale Sanctuary Livestream is now streaming the underwater soundscape from a hydrophone, and video from a camera from North Pender Island. The monitoring station is strategically situated in an Interim Sanctuary Zone for Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW), an area where vessel traffic is prohibited in key whale foraging areas to reduce acoustic and physical disturbance.

For more than a decade, Raincoast has been using science, the courts and government engagement to advance recovery measures for SRKW. Our new monitoring program will continue this effort by improving scientific and public understanding of the exposure of SRKW to vessel noise and disturbance within an Interim Sanctuary Zone in the Salish Sea. 

Data acquired from the monitoring station in the Sanctuary will help inform development and implementation of new or strengthened regulations and enforcement efforts in support of the recovery of the SRKW population.  

The strategic location of the monitoring station will also allow us to document the use of the area by other  marine mammal species, including  Bigg’s killer whales, porpoises, sea lions and humpback whales, visually or by listening for their characteristic vocalizations.

In addition to monitoring the use of the Pender Island Interim Sanctuary Zone by both whales and boats, the monitoring station will continuously measure underwater noise levels. Noise data from the site will be made available to NoiseTracker, a collaboration between hydrophone operators in British Columbia to present underwater noise levels at multiple locations in British Columbia on a shared, user-friendly website.