Public Statement for the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Underwater Warfare Suite Upgrade (UWSU) project

In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a detailed Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) was completed for the Underwater Warfare Suite Upgrade (UWSU) project.

The UWSU project involves the modernization of the sensor suite and processing systems for anti-submarine warfare on Halifax-class ships. A modern underwater suite in the Halifax-class will enable the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) to meet Government of Canada defence objectives in all maritime environments.

The main environmental concern identified as a result of the SEA is the potential effect of active sonar on marine animals. The RCN has operational measures in place to mitigate the effects of sonar transmission on marine animals. In addition, considerations for marine mammals were incorporated into the requirements for the UWSU systems and equipment, which should result in the ability to further lower risk of interaction and disturbance. Ongoing research and collaboration with Defence Research and Development Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada will further help to limit impacts to marine animals and their habitats. Follow-up and monitoring will ensure mitigation measures continue to be effective and determine if modifications are required.

Proper management of the UWSU project can support three of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goals, namely Healthy Coasts and Oceans, Healthy Wildlife Populations, and Safe and Healthy Communities.

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