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Project Details

Quadra Island, Strathcona, BC, Canada

The presence of Straitwatch on the water reduces the number of disruptions experienced by killer whales and other marine mammals on a daily basis, providing relief from potential distress and harm caused by vessels both acoustically and physically.

Placement Details

CETUS Research & Conservation Society is a non-profit marine conservation organization working to address the increasing endangerment of BC’s killer whales due to human activities. Their focus is on vessel traffic disturbance – as this is one of the key contributors to killer whale endangerment- and involves work in the field to protect whales and other marine mammals from harassment and harm.

The Straitwatch program operates on the Salish Sea from operating bases at Victoria and Quadra Island, covering a significant area of critical habitat for the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs). Straitwatch participants educate boaters about marine mammal viewing guidelines, and alert mariners to their impacts on whales. They also collect and enter data on marine mammals and vessel activity, as well as observe and record cetacean sightings in support of the Ocean Wise Sightings Network.

Although this placement takes place in a remote setting, the accommodations are not as rugged as the other CETUS placement (Robson Bight Warden Program), with participants housed at a shared lodge on Quadra Island.

Placement Category: Field Research and Monitoring; Wildlife Advocacy or Rehab

Placement Season: Summer

Placement Type: Rugged Field

2023 Participant Highlights

Participants Kai Scarfe and Joanna Tucci

During their time with the Cetus team on Quadra Island, Kai and Joanna learned valuable research and field skills. Kai shares that a highlight was feeling like he was contributing in some way to the protection or restoration of the environment, all while being outside and working with nature.

Joanna shares the following testimonial: “This opportunity was a once in a lifetime experience that has changed my life! As someone who is passionate about the environment it allowed me to grow both professionally and personally. I was able to join a community of likeminded people, explore more of Canada and gain hands-on knowledge and experience in marine conservation that will help build my career. I would do it over and over again if I could!”

Check out Joanna’s feature on @oceanwiseyouth here, as well as her Instagram Takeover under the “Ocean Pathways” highlight.

Check out Joanna’s blog titled “Three months of protecting whales with Cetus”, read it here.


2022 Participant Highlights

Participants Eric MacDowell and Winter McDougall

With CETUS’s Straitwatch Quadra program, Eric and Winter educated boaters about the ‘Be Whale Wise’ marine mammal viewing guidelines, and collected and entered data on marine mammals and vessel activity.


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