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Court adds new hurdles for BC oil sands pipeline as separate lawsuit calls for emergency orca protections

November 13, 2018

Over the past decade, plans for a big expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline in British Columbia have garnered pushback from ocean advocates. In late 2016, the plan gained its final approval from the Canadian government (see AEI coverage), but in late August, a Federal Appeals Court overturned that approval, citing the government’s failure to assess the effects […]

BC ship-quieting study stymied by lack of orcas

January 4, 2018

Last fall’s innovative 2-month voluntary slow-down of ships traveling to and from the Port of Vancouver was successful on one count—average overall shipping noise was reduced by 44%—but a stark absence of the normally abundant resident orcas stymied the equally important second line of inquiry: how would reducing the noise level, but spreading more moderate noise over longer time periods, […]

Fishermen blasting “seal bombs” 30,000 times a month off Southern California

November 30, 2017

They look small, about the size of a “cherry bomb” firecracker.  They’re legal, exempt from the Marine Mammal Protection Act thanks to their functional purpose: protecting fishermen’s nets from seals and cetaceans poaching their catches, including squid, anchovies, and tuna. But they are loud and used freely in waters off southern California. Divers report physical pressure waves hitting them from up […]

Good news and bad news on BC shipping traffic

December 30, 2016

In the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a northern pipeline was rejected and a southern one approved; meanwhile, ongoing research aims to identify the noisiest ships and help inform new regulations that could reduce overall noise levels.

New gas port proposals adding injury to insult in BC

February 24, 2016

The British Columbia coast is a wild territory, yet one pockmarked with major shipping facilities.  Four related ports stretch down the coast from Prince Rupert, sending coal, grain, and other products to Asian markets and south to the U.S. and beyond.  Canadian First Nations and environmental groups have been raising alarms about the cumulative impacts of increased development […]

New paper pinpoints “opportunity sites” for acoustic habitat protection near proposed oil sands shipping route

October 8, 2015

AEI lay summary of Rob Williams, Christine Erbe, Erin Ashe, Christopher Clark. Quiet(er) marine protected areas. Marine Pollution Bulletin (2015), j.marpolbul.2015.09.012  View or download paper online Over the past decade or so, concern about ocean noise has expanded from its initial focus injuries and deaths caused by periodic loud events, such as sonar or seismic surveys.  Many researchers […]

Pipeline expansion to add 700 tanker transits in already-saturated southern BC waters

May 19, 2015

Bioacousticians and marine advocates have been closely following plans for the Northern Gateway pipeline in British Columbia, which would greatly increase ship traffic in some coastal waterways that are relatively quiet so far; see previous AEInews coverage.  But another pipeline project, farther along in the permitting process, could push the already stressed waters of southern […]

Listening array documenting rare natural quiet on BC coast, in face of development proposals

April 16, 2015

PacificWild, a British Columbian environmental organization, has deployed a network of 6 hydrophones in waters along the northern coast of that province.  This region of offshore islands and dramatic forested fjords is relatively wild, and quiet, especially as compared to the shipping-intensive region in southern BC around Vancouver Island and nearby Puget Sound in Washington […]

New paper details the acoustic quality of critical whale habitats

November 27, 2013

AEI lay summary of:R. Williams, C.W. Clark, D. Ponirakis, and E. Ashe.  Acoustic quality of critical habitats for three threatened whale populations.  Animal Conservation (2013). Innovative research along the coast of British Columbia has quantified the degree to which shipping noise is reducing the distance at which whale vocalizations can be heard.  This is one […]

Detailed new maps highlight excessive shipping noise in Puget Sound, BC coast

January 6, 2013

In the wake of NOAA’s large-scale ocean noise mapping project, two much more detailed studies from the Pacific Northwest have highlighted the likelihood that current shipping noise is already pushing the limits of what biologists think many ocean creatures can cope with. The first study recorded the sound from several types of boats and ships traversing […]

Listening to the undersea world

August 8, 2012

A great post over on Artemia, a University of British Columbia blog, from Jessi Lehman, reflecting on listening to the LIDO online undersea sound streams.  Go read the whole thing for sure! A teaser: …These ocean observatory networks are about science and whale conservation but also about industry, development, and geopolitics. But I want to […]

Ocean listening stations go online; US Navy aims to filter out its activities

January 22, 2012

A growing network of ocean observatories are adding hydrophones to their arrays of instruments, opening ears into the undersea world.  The data has been shared widely among scientists for the past few years, and a website, Listening to the Deep Ocean Environment, is now compiling the real-time acoustic streams from 15 of the observatories, allowing […]

BC Oil Tanker Port Planned in Rare Acoustically Quiet Coastal Zone

February 5, 2009

Plans to build a pipeline to move the fruits of Alberta’s oil fields and oil sands to the deepwater port of Kitimat, in order to ship it to Asia, are spurring widespread concerns among residents and researchers in northern British Columbia. In addition to fears of a tanker accident and rural resistence to the pipeline, […]

Ocean listening stations sprouting around US

November 17, 2015

A new network of long-term acoustic monitoring stations is being deployed by NOAA-funded researchers in ocean waters from Massachusetts to the Arctic and Samoa. The Ocean Noise Reference Station (ONRS) Network represents the next step in data collection for NOAA, which has increased its focus on ocean noise in recent years. Agencies, researchers, and NGOs are all concerned about the effects of chronic […]