Where: West coast of Haida Gwaii

A minimum 50 nautical mile (nm) Voluntary Protection Zone (VPZ) applies to vessels 500 tons gross tonnage or more transiting along the west coast of Haida Gwaii, with the following exceptions:

  • Cruise vessels, who are asked to observe a minimum 12 nm distance from shore;
  • Vessels transiting between Pacific Northwest ports (Washington, British Columbia and Alaska), who are asked to observe a minimum 25 nm distance from shore;
  • Tugs and barges (including pushing and towing alongside); and
  • Fishing vessels.

Adherence to the VPZ trial will be undertaken on a voluntary basis and only when it does not jeopardize the safety of navigation, the vessel, the persons aboard, and the cargo.

When: September 1, 2020-October 31, 2021

The trial will take place for a period of 14-months beginning on September 1, 2020.

The start and end date of the VPZ and measures will be communicated to vessel operators and mariners through industry associations’ channels including ships’ agents, BC Coast Pilots, Puget Sound Pilots, Alaska Maritime Prevention & Response Network, and Canadian Coast Guard’s Maritime Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS).

Monitoring and evaluation

Traffic patterns will be monitored before, during and after the trial period using Automatic Identification System (AIS) data obtained from Transport Canada’s Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness (EMSA) system and the Pacific Safety Initiative. A short questionnaire will be administered where possible to better understand participation and route planning decisions. We recognize that pressures being faced by the marine industry due to COVID-19 may make it challenging to maintain high participation at all times and that the data collected during the trial period may reflect impacts to shipping and traffic patterns.

Monthly progress reports for the trial will be posted here.