An international group of marine scientists including five from British Columbia wants the Canadian government to take steps to cut underwater noise in the Salish Sea off the southern coast of B.C. The scientists say increased noise from shipping and other industries threatens the critically endangered southern resident killer whale population which, at the beginning of this year, numbered only 78 individuals, and in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers of Fisheries, Environment and Transport, the scientists urge the adoption of targets to reduce shipping noise by three decibels over the next decade and 10 decibels within 30 years. Industrial noise has been linked to reduced foraging among southern resident orcas, which the scientists say already have difficulty finding enough salmon, their main food source. The letter also says constant vessel noise masks the calls of killer whales, affecting communication and inducing chronic stress.
Photo Credit: NOAA Fisheries