$9.1 million from Ottawa to develop and test technology to protect whales

$9.1 million from Ottawa to develop and test technology to protect whales

File Photo/CBC.

File Photo/CBC.

Ottawa is funding the development and testing of technology that will alert vessels of whales nearby in an effort to lower collisions.

The federal government is putting $9.1 million towards the project and will also spend more than $3.1 million on multiple studies to help protect southern resident killer whales.

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc made the announcement and said there is a responsibility to ensure whales are protected for future generations.

The University of British Columbia will study how the whales are affected by changes in the supply and quality of chinook salmon, which is its main source of food.

University of Victoria researchers Francis Juanes, Rosaline Canessa and Stan Dosso have been awarded $935,000 to study the environmental stress on whales from noise and limits on prey.

The Species at Risk Act has listed the southern resident group as endangered.

The Centre for Whale Research (CWR) in Washington says there are 76 southern resident killer whales left and environmental groups have said there is a 50 per cent chance they could disappear in the next century.

The CWR says the population was as high as 98 in 1995.

With files from the Canadian Press.

Andy NealAndy Neal

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