The North Coast killer whale and humpback whale conservation research programs run by Ocean Wise will be able to expand thanks to a $750,000 contribution by LNG Canada over three years. The funds will also permit Ocean Wise to deliver ocean literacy programs to Kitimat- and Terrace-area schools in British Columbia.
Ocean Wise researchers have been investigating the abundance, site fidelity and habitat requirements of North Coast cetaceans since 2014. This work is also supported by funding from the Port of Prince Rupert (a Green Marine participant) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (a Green Marine supporter).
Program highlights include:
- Surveys of the relative abundance and distribution of cetacean species in the Chatham Sound region, including the collection of environmental DNA.
- Drone-based aerial photogrammetry to assess the body condition of humpback and killer whales.
- North Coast implementation of Ocean Wise’s Whale Report Alert System, a real-time alert system informing commercial mariners aboard large vessels of nearby whales to enable them to take action to reduce the risk of collision or disturbance.
- Promotion of both the BC Cetacean Sightings Network and the Whale Report App to communities along the North Coast.
- Work with local educators, Indigenous leaders, school boards, researchers and community leaders on ocean literacy programs designed specifically for students in B.C.’s Kitimat and Terrace regions.
Image from Thomas Lipke, Unsplash