Port gathers diverse maritime interests to protect endangered orcas by reducing ship noise
The Port of Seattle, Port of Tacoma, Northwest Seaport Alliance, Washington State Ferries, NOAA, and the Puget Sound Partnership co-convened a workshop of a broad range of experts and interests to identify ways to reduce underwater noise in an effort to support a recovery of the endangered population of Southern Resident killer whales. Underwater noise can be harmful to Southern Resident orcas because it impedes their ability to use sonar to hunt prey and communicate.
The workshop was held at the Bell Harbor Conference Center on Thursday, October 3 and was attended by state, federal, tribal and Canadian government representatives, researchers, natural resource agencies, whale conservation groups and representatives of the maritime industry. The goal of the workshop was to explore the possibility of establishing a program to reduce the exposure of our endangered orca to ship noise such as ECHO established by the Port of Vancouver, BC.
“It was heartening to have such a broad range of expertise in the same room committed to tackling the critical issue of orca survival in the Salish Sea,” said Port of Seattle Commissioner and Northwest Seaport Alliance Managing Member, Fred Felleman, who studied killer whales in graduate school and championed the workshop. “As we know from the study of cooperative hunters such as wolves, lions, and orcas, we can accomplish great things when we work together, and the recovery of our iconic orca hinges on our collaboration.”
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