What is the Marine Mammal Monitoring Program?
The Marine Mammal Monitoring Program promotes stewardship of marine mammals, birds and critical habitat by providing a comprehensive outreach, education and monitoring program for recreational and commercial eco tourists.

Marine Mammal Monitoring Program operates a stewardship patrol vessel in the trans-boundary area of southern Vancouver Island and north-western Washington State. From May to October, the Marine Mammal Monitoring Program crew monitors whale watching activities and distributes guidelines on marine mammal viewing to recreational boaters. Through its activities, the program works to increase public awareness of marine conservation issues.

Why do we need guidelines?
The near and inshore marine habitats of Southern Vancouver Island are utilized by both migratory and resident species of seabirds and marine mammals. These species face similar threats from: pollution (toxic chemicals and oil spills); climate change; forage species depletion; fishing activity (gill nets and long lines); and vessel traffic (noise and ship collisions).

Map defineing Salishsea.ca , Veins of Life Watershed Society areas of operation

Veins of Life Watershed Society  Marine Mammal Monitoring Trans-Boundary Area

To reduce potential impacts of vessel traffic, which may be disrupting the natural activities of marine animals, we are developing best management practices guidelines for viewing marine mammals and birds. Some species are showing signs of vulnerability and population decline, as identified by Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The North Pacific killer whale and North Pacific humpback whale populations are listed as "Threatened" by COSEWIC.

In response to the growth in commercial and recreational marine mammal viewing that may disrupt the natural activities of marine mammals, guidelines have been developed for eco-tourists to help reduce the risk of disturbance by vessel traffic.

Who is involved? The Veins of Life Watershed Society operates and manages the Marine Mammal Monitoring Program with the following Partners: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Friday Harbor Whale Museum's Soundwatch Boater Education Program (San Juan Island, WA). The Marine Mammal Monitoring vessel is working in cooperation with the Soundwatch vessel to maintain an on-the-water education and monitoring presence. We are currently working with the residence of the lower Gulf Island to establish and series of land based monitoring posts which is a continuation of our Ocean Rangers Program.

Marine Mammal Monitoring Zodiac donated  in part by DFO Canada

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Contact: John R. Roe volws@salishsea.ca