In partnership with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority,Hudson is thrilled to mark an important milestone in our continued conservation efforts. The Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program is celebrating six full years of saving southern resident killer whales (SRKwhales)! This is an extraordinary accomplishment. It commemorates six years of research and initiatives to reduce the threat to at-risk whales. We are so proud to be a part of this program. The ECHO program fundamentally aligns with our GreenFocus initiatives and we are happy to offer our continued support and guidance.
Along with the ECHO program’s success, we also want to takea moment to recognize the Port of Vancouver for their anti-scrubber stanceagainst the dumping of toxic washwater into our waters. The unnecessary dumping of toxic washwaters from the so called “scrubbers” has been devasting to coastal communities. Studies show that scrubbers release high levels of toxic contaminates including heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons directly into the ocean. Recognizing this risk, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority issued new restrictions to ban the discharge of washwater from scrubbers within port limits. This is a major victory. In less than a year, the ban has eliminated millions of tons of washwater pollution. We applaud the Port of Vancouver for their efforts. The issue of scrubbers is one we fully take to heart. In fact, many of our Green Focus initiatives seek to eliminate scrubber use and rely on cleaner alternatives. We are proud of the Port of Vancouver for taking this important step. And just think, clean water is also abig win for the SRK whales!
Speaking of the whales, there is still more about the ECHO program to celebrate! For one, the program’s threat reduction measures now cover more geographical area than ever before. Additionally, the program achieved a record-breaking 86% participation rate in voluntary initiatives that directly protect the whales. New for last year, the expanded trial at Swiftsure Bank exceeded all expectations. A total of 82% of all inbound and outbound ship operators participated in the program while traveling through this important SRK whale habitat.
In the coming year, we look forward to continuing our partnership with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. Rest assured that we remain steadfast in our conservation efforts. We are confident that both the ECHO program and the scrubber washwater ban will continue to foster successful changes that we so desperately need.