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2013 — Environment
During maintenance work at the Baie-Comeau Smelter’s port facilities, which was completed in the fall of 2012, Alcoa took care to protect the local whale population by halting work whenever these impressive creatures were spotted approaching the pier.
Every year from May until the first cold days of November, whale sightings are common from the smelter’s port facilities as these animals come to feed on the abundant fish and krill that spawn in the cold waters of the St. Lawrence River.
When the time came to repair the facilities with the installation of new piles and sheet piles, Fisheries and Oceans Canada required that the work be carried out while minimizing noise disturbance, since whales are very sensitive to sound.
Workers kept a close watch so they could stop noise-generating activity whenever a whale came to within less than 2,000 feet (600 meters) of shore. They even used a night vision camera to watch for whales in order to extend the normal work day on the project. Work was also halted during periods of fog, since it was impossible to spot the whales.
Team members were pleased to protect the whales while completing their maintenance work.