Notice of licence

Regional or Local Number: 19-PPAC-00034

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 74 of the Species at Risk Act licence no. 19-PPAC-00034 is issued.

Scientific research for the conservation of the species

The study aims at determining sound propagation (detectability over distance) for Killer Whale calls within their habitat including natural and anthropogenic noise conditions. The activities permitted under this license shall assess Killer Whale vocalization ranges, which vary by location, habitat and times of the year. The study aims at better understanding the impact of noise on vocalization ranges and to determine optimal locations for passive killer whale acoustic monitoring stations. Simulated sounds including calls of Killer Whales shall be projected underwater from a stationary source and recorded via hydrophones at various distances and different angles from the source via a mobile platform (small vessel). This information will also be used to determine the optimal locations for passive acoustic monitoring and tracking of whales. The activities permitted under this license include the following: 1. Simulated sounds including calls of Killer Whales may be projected underwater from a stationery source (anchored vessel) via an underwater sound projector suspended at a fixed depth of either 10 or 25 m and recorded via two or more hydrophones at various distances and different angles. 2. Sound projection shall not be conducted when cetaceans are present within 5km of the recording and sound projection vessel. 3. The area is to be monitored visually and acoustically for cetaceans for 30 minutes prior to acoustic trials to ensure that no cetaceans are present within 5 km. If cetaceans are present within 5 km, acoustic trials must be delayed or stopped and monitoring for an additional 30 minutes shall continue before acoustic trials can be reinitiated.

Start Date: 2019-07-07   End Date: 2023-12-31

Issuing Authority: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Authority Used:

  • Species at Risk Act
  • Fisheries Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • British Columbia

Affected Species:

a) No other reasonable alternatives could be found other than sound propagation in the species habitat. Detection range modelling techniques have been applied to a limited set of Southern Resident Killer Whales in the past. The field test shall confirm model results and some adjustment to model parameters may be required. b) Measures to minimize impact include using highly skilled and experienced personnel for these activities, eliminate harmful and incidental exposure. Signal source levels will be kept below physical disturbance threshold (120dB) within 500m of sound source for whales and not above disturbance levels for prey. A 30 minute pre-trial acoustic and visual scanning for whales and dolphins shall be done before producing acoustic sounds. If whales are detected in the area, trials shall be delayed or terminated. Night time activities shall be avoided when visibility is low. c) The proposed research will not jeopardize the survival of the species. The research activities permitted under this license shall be used to determine the anthropogenic noise levels for whales to maximize their foraging space. No mortalities or long-term injuries to the species are expected. The permitted activities shall not destroy the critical habitat of whales.

Contact Person(s)
Marine Mammal Program, Pacific Region
Suite 200
401 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC
V6C 3S4

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