A mysterious pinging sound has been reported over the past year coming from the waters of Fury and Hecla Strait in Canada’s Nunavut territory. The sound, apparently readily detectable by sonar equipment, is being blamed for a sudden scarcity of marine wildlife, normally-abundant in the channel that runs between the western end of Baffin Island and the mainland.
“The sound that has been heard in the area seems to be emitted from the seabed and underwater,” explained Legislative Assembly Member Paul Quassa, speaking in Nunavut’s parliament. He also addressed the absence of animals in the area. “Our constituents as well as hunters and boaters have reported that the area in question is almost devoid of sea mammals and that hunting has been poor in the area for quite some time.” The reports were backed up by verification from a sailboat that recorded the pings over the summer, using onboard sonar equipment.
Canada’s Department of National Defence, conducting the “Operation LIMPID” asset survey, dispatched a CP-140 Aurora aircraft to the area, but the search came up empty-handed. “The air crew performed various multi-sensor searches in the area, including an acoustic search for 1.5 hours, without detecting any acoustic anomalies. The crew did not detect any surface or subsurface contacts,” according to an email statement released by DND senior communications advisor, Ashley Lemire.
The strait’s wildlife has begun to re-enter the area, now that the pinging appears to have disappeared, but the question of the sound’s origin remains: oil and gas companies report that they were not conducting surveys in the area, and the Canadian military says none of their submarines were operating in the area.
"The cause of the pings remains mired in mystery," explains Lemire.