New trial program asks ships coming into the Puget Sound to slow down for whales

The voluntary speed reduction trial runs from October 24 to December 22. Researchers will explore the potential effects on Southern Resident killer whales.

SEATTLE – Some commercial ships will soon participate in voluntary “speed reduction trials” under the auspices of Quiet Sound, a program that works to better understand and reduce shipping’s impact on fish. Male killer elephants reside.

“Southern residents are fish eaters, which means they use echolocation to find their food,” said Program Director Rachel Aronson. “So they need a clear and open range of noise frequencies to forage, communicate with their families and know where they are in their habitat, so we hope to give them a quiet space to develop.”

Quiet Sound is coordinated by Maritime Blue, an organization that works to increase fairness and sustainability in the maritime industry. It said high-engagement fleets are “eligible to provide documentation that meets a criterion in the Underwater Noise performance index for their Green Marine certification.” On top of that, many local shippers also care about the whales and are willing to take a moment to protect them.

“Commercial shippers have been there from the beginning as part of Quiet Sound so we can offer programs they can participate in easily and safely,” Aronson said.

Maersk, a participating partner, said they were already involved in a similar program in British Columbia called ECHO and are excited to continue the process in western Washington. That program found that slowing down significantly reduced underwater noise.

The voluntary slowdown lasted from October 24 to December 22, the season during which southern resident Orcas tend to feed in the target area. It requires commercial vessels such as cargo ships, container ships, tankers and tankers to slow down to 14.5 or 11 knots when traveling over water from Admiralty Inlet to North Puget Sound, depending on depending on their type of ship. Aronson says that means a speed reduction of about 30-50% from the typical speed of most ships.

“We knew in that area there was a very good feeding environment for the Southern Resident Killer Whale, so we hoped this would create a welcoming mat of calm in (Yin),” said Aronson. Puget bars) for whales,” said Aronson.

Aronson says the public can help by reporting whales to Orca Network, Whale Alert or other services.

“We’ve established a partnership when the public reports a whale, navigators get a real-time report that a whale is nearby so they can,” Aronson said. avoid that whale and/or slow down,” Aronson said.

To learn more, check out the Quiet Sound website. New trial program asks ships coming into the Puget Sound to slow down for whales

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