Skip to content


Whales are the environmental guardians of our ocean. Their health and wellbeing are the most useful indicators of the health of the entire ocean ecosystem.

In the field and the lab, our researchers are helping whales survive and thrive in the wild

In the next decade, Ocean Wise will:
- Monitor the health of whale populations to understand and mitigate the conservation threats facing whales and ocean ecosystems.
- Track chemical pollution levels in sediment, shellfish, and marine mammals.
- Eliminate the risk of ship strike for whales in British Columbia and Washington state through expansion of our WhaleReport Alert System.
- Encourage coastal communities to continue reporting cetacean and sea turtle sightings in support of conservation-based research
- Partner with other organizations and citizen science groups to grow the network of cetacean sightings in other geographies.
- Empower communities with knowledge about the health of their local marine environment.
- Continue to use photogrammetry and genetic analyses to gain insight into whale body condition and diet
- Share our research findings with governments and industry.

Send a Sighting. Save a Whale!

Taking two minutes to report your sighting of a cetacean (whale, dolphin or porpoise) or a sea turtle could be what saves their life. When you make a real-time report on WhaleReport, large ships in your area are immediately alerted to the presence of these animals

Marine Mammal Research

Since the mid-1980s, Ocean Wise has conducted conservation-oriented research on killer whales, belugas, and other marine mammals. The program focuses on long-term studies of marine mammal populations and the threats these at-risk populations face. The program’s particular strengths are in cetacean distribution and abundance, acoustic behaviour, population genetics, and photogrammetric monitoring of health and condition of killer whales and humpback whales.

Our research centres

Whales Headquarters - Vancouver, B.C.

North Coast Cetacean Research Initiative - Prince Rupert, B.C.

Southern Vancouver Island Cetacean Research Initiative - Victoria, B.C.

Whales Headquarters - Vancouver, B.C.

Building on 30 years of conservation-based research, Ocean Wise's Whale program focuses on addressing the conservation threats of habitat use and quality, prey availability, genetic fitness, contaminants, underwater noise, and physical disturbance. Members of the team serve on numerous advisory committees and expert panels focused on conservation, education, and research.

Ocean Wise delivers critical information about cetacean and environmental health to decision makers to support global cetacean conservation efforts.

North Coast Cetacean Research Initiative - Prince Rupert, B.C.

Ocean Wise's North Coast Cetacean Research Initiative (NCCRI) is a field office based in Prince Rupert, B.C. The NCCRI fills a critical knowledge gap by hosting a community-based cetacean program in Northern British Columbia, an area previously understudied but biologically important for cetaceans.

In addition to citizen science the NCCRI conducts applied research projects to learn more about locally important species, develops tools to directly impact cetacean conservation, and engages the community in learning about the marine environment and at-risk cetacean populations.

Southern Vancouver Island Cetacean Research Initiative - Victoria, B.C.

Ocean Wise's Southern Vancouver Island Cetacean Research Initiative (SVICRI) is a field office based in Victoria, B.C. The SVICRI fills a significant marine mammal science and conservation gap in the transboundary region of Southern Vancouver Island, Juan de Fuca and Haro Strait. As a local hub of marine mammal expertise the SVICRI performs rigorous research, provides engaging education, and policy support in collaboration with the broader conservation community.

Since its inception in 2019, the SVICRI has provided extensive outreach and education to the local and transboundary communities around Southern Vancouver Island and in Washington State, established strong partnerships with government, military, other ENGOs, local businesses and within academia, managed and supported several marine mammal research projects, and has regularly provided policy-related advice to decisionmakers.


Join the mailing list

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive emails about events, news about ocean successes and issues, and opportunities to support us.

Help spread the word

Share this page on social media and help get the word out on ocean conservation