Canada Funds Spill Response and Ocean Noise Initiatives

file photo: killer whale
file photo: killer whale

Published Mar 13, 2018 5:45 PM by The Maritime Executive

Canada's Minister of Transport Marc Garneau has announced a range of coastal protection measures under the nation's Oceans Protection Plan. 

Among them, Aqua-Guard Spill Response from British Columbia has been awarded a $1.2 million contract for new multi-cassette portable skimmer packages to recover marine pollution spills.

Over $167 million has been assigned to whale research, including the survival risks faced by the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale. The ultimate aim is to implement regulatory and other measures to reduce underwater noise from vessels. 

As part of the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative, the Haida Nation and the Gitga’at Nation will host pilot projects to develop a new marine awareness information system that will include near real-time data on ship traffic. The project is expected to be completed in fall of 2019. They are the first of up to nine communities that will host pilot versions of the new system across the three coasts.

The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways, and the Government has already announced initiatives worth more than $500 million under the Plan. This includes $12.6 million over three years to the Nunavut Fisheries and Marine Training Consortium to deliver a Marine Training Program in the North. Also, in February, the government announced an additional $72,000 to support the Vancouver Aquarium’s PollutionTracker, a monitoring program that will help identify the sources of contaminants in British Columbia’s marine environment. In total, the Government has contributed approximately $470,000 towards the implementation of the program. 

In December last year, the Government announced more than $80 million in funding under the Plan for research aimed at mitigating and preventing marine accidents and oil spills. This included a new $45.5 million national and international research program which includes $16.8 million for research into how oil behaves and degrades in different conditions, including cold water. Additionally, $17.7 million will go towards enhancing ocean models of winds, waves and currents, so that emergency responders can accurately track spills and predict their path.