Featured Image Credit: Joan Lopez / Vancouver Whale Watch
By Kira Krall
Cetaceans (the scientific name for whales and dolphins) use sound in every aspect of their lives. They use it to communicate, locate prey, and find mates across the vast distances of the seas. Toothed whales like bottlenose dolphins and orcas can use built-in sonar called echolocation. Noise pollution disrupts all of these processes by drowning out the natural sounds of the ocean.
The port of Vancouver has introduced an initiative to change all of this. They will discount docking fees for ships that meet new noise reduction standards. A ship can save up to 47% on a single visit to the port, which translates to a savings of $3,000-$4,000 per visit for medium-sized ships. They’re the first port in the world to implement this type of program.
The Port of Vancouver occupies almost 4 square miles of land. They process over $200 billion worth of cargo every year.
This discount plan will help shipping companies offset the cost of upgrading their vessels. It will also help create positive and environmentally-friendly PR for both the ships and the port. And hey, we can help reduce our impact on the oceans while we’re at it.
The initiative is part of the Vancouver Port’s Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program, a project that began in 2014 to help understand the effects of noise pollution on whales and dolphins.
Noise affects all life in the ocean, but whales and dolphins are significantly impacted by audial assaults. The Port of Vancouver has set a standard for ocean-going vessels that more cities around the world will hopefully rise to. The technology to create quieter ships could one day be applied to smaller boats like recreational vehicles and water taxis.