Ambient & Vessel Noise Measurement and Marine Mammal Monitoring in the Stait of Georgia, British-Columbia, Canada.

John Eugene Moloney1, David Hannay2, Xavier Mouy2, Pierre-Alain Mouy2, Ildar Urazghildiiev3 and Tom Dakin4, (1)JASCO Applied Sciences, Dartmouth, NS, Canada, (2)JASCO Applied Sciences, Victoria, BC, Canada, (3)JASCO Applied Sciences, Ithica, NY, United States, (4)Ocean Networks Canada, Victoria, BC, Canada
Recently JASCO Applied Sciences (Canada) Ltd (JASCO), Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) and the Port of Metro Vancouver (PMV) have collaborated in the installation of a novel, real-time ocean observing (listening) system (PMV-ECHO system deployed in the Strait of Georgia, BC. This system was designed specifically to measure ambient noise, vessel source levels, and to detect, classify, localize and track marine mammals using their vocalization in order to estimate population density. The listening station deployment and monitoring activities are part of the Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program. The program aims to better understand and manage the impact of shipping activities on at-risk whales throughout the southern coast of British Columbia.


The PMV-ECHO system is composed of two unique spatial arrays of four hydrophones and one active projector each. Both arrays are used to measure and monitor the environment and calibrate the hydrophones over time. Further, a new shored-based data processing and visualization system (JMesh) is used automatically process the data and to enable operators to easily provide measurement information, navigate through large time series of detections, examine spectrograms, listen to detected sounds, validate detections, and compare detections for different species over time and space. The JMesh web platform has been designed to overcome the otherwise overwhelming volume of acoustic data collected by the PMV-ECHO sensor systems.


This paper will describe how the PMV-ECHO system along with the automated real-time analysis and visualization software suite can be used study marine mammal distribution and behavior, variation of vessel noises and potential effects of anthropogenic activities on marine mammals. The goal of the PMV-ECHO program is to find ways to reduce shipping impact on at-risk species especially in the approaches to large ports. This program and its scientific and technical approaches should be of interest to many marine organizations, industries, researchers and enforcement agencies.