Research Partners

One of our core objectives is to develop long-term partnerships with coastal First Nation communities and NGOs to support collaborative initiatives for the development of whale monitoring projects, educational programs, and stewardship activities. United as partners, we strive to strengthen and expand capacity for crucial efforts aimed at documenting whale populations along our coast. Janie Wray, BC Whales’ lead researcher and CEO, provides invaluable guidance and training to communities and NGOs interested in conducting monitoring surveys or becoming otherwise involved in whale research. Through these collaborative endeavors, we extend support to broader initiatives dedicated to stewardship and the protection of marine environments. By bringing research communities together, these collaborations will deepen our understanding of whale habitat use and the interconnectedness of whales and communities along BC’s coast.


Hartley Bay is the home of the Gitga’at Nation.

Located on British Columbia’s remote northwest coast, the present-day home community of the GITGA’AT NATION is Hartley Bay. The Gitga’at have been stewards of their land and its resources since time immemorial, and their surroundings are deeply tied to their customs, daily life, and cultural identity


Klemtu is the home to the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation

The Kitasoo/Xai’xais community and its leadership, ensure that Kitasoo/Xai’xais laws, customs, traditions, policies and practices are included in resource planning and management decisions, and advocate for the recognition of Kitasoo/Xai’xais Aboriginal title and rights.


Bella Bella, BC, is home of the Heiltsuk Nation.

Gvi’ilas has been described as the ethos of our people: “Gvi’ilas not only governed our relationship and responsibilities to land and resources, but also social relationships and obligations with respect to lands and resources. For example, take a little and leave a lot; dispersed and varied resource harvesting obligations to share and support family and community; obligations to care for the resource; seeing all aspects of harvesting, from the taking of the resources to the methods used, as a gift of the Creator.”


Over time, our work has evolved from protecting particular wildlife species and habitats to protecting life on Earth – including our own. Today, our work is about life, because everything we do is about securing the future of healthy, thriving ecosystems. And living, because the choices we make will decide that future—for us and for all species.

Everything World Wildlife Fund does is grounded in science. We use the best available data and sophisticated modelling tools to understand ecological connections, identify pressing issues and develop effective conservation strategies.


The work of OrcaLab is based on the philosophy that it is possible to study the wild without interfering with lives or habitat. A network of hydrophones, positioned around the orcas’ “core habitat” helps us monitor their movements all year round. Supplementing the acoustic data are visual sightings of orcas as they pass OrcaLab, and reports from land observation sites during the summer “season” as well as reports from other researchers and whale watchers who share observations and information.


SoundSpace Analytics specializes in fully automated analysis of underwater soundscapes that translate acoustic data into instant and intuitive ocean intelligence. SoundSpace customized software provides fast, replicable, and objective data to support ambitious acoustic monitoring projects with a mission to achieve balanced marine ecosystems.


The Canadian Pacific Humpback Collaboration (CPHC) catalogues Humpback Whales off the coast of British Columbia. The CPHC’s centralized catalogue and database of individual Humpback Whales enable understanding of the whales’ habitat use, behaviours, population size and structure, life histories, and the impacts of threats like vessel strike and entanglement. The efforts of the CPHC have informed research beyond British Columbia, including the reassessment of North Pacific Humpbacks by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and publications related to the collaborative effort to study Humpbacks across the North Pacific via Happywhale.

Marine Education & Research Society

Our work with MERS revolves around three key pillars: research, education, and response. With a research focus on whales, we are driven to understand and reduce anthropogenic impacts on marine species. Our research directly influences our educational efforts to motivate behavioural change to reduce threats and inspire stewardship. We are primary responders for dead, distressed, and injured marine mammals (as tasked by DFO) and assist with training of response volunteers. Our research and education efforts inform communications around marine mammal rescue and response.

Raincoast Conservation Foundation

Raincoast is a team of scientists and conservationists empowered by our research to safeguard the land, waters, and wildlife of coastal British Columbia. We investigate to understand coastal species and processes. we inform by bringing science to decision-makers and communities and inspire action to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Ocean Wise Conservation Association

Ocean Wise has well-established environmental stewardship and education programs, including the Ocean Wise Education and Ocean Bridge Pathways programs. Ocean Wise Education works with audiences of all backgrounds and sizes, ranging from schools, youth-serving agencies, and community groups to individuals and families. Every educational program is specially adapted for targeted ages and developmental stages, covering young ocean enthusiasts from toddlers to late teens. The unifying Principles of Ocean Literacy are woven throughout our programs, providing a common thread and a shared language to work with the other ocean conservation leaders.

Sea to Shore Systems

Sea to Shore Systems’ (StSS) core expertise is in underwater acoustic systems for monitoring coastal environments. The data provides a window into the primarily acoustic world of marine animals which is critical to understanding the impacts of anthropogenic endeavours on marine ecosystems. StSS’ products and services are used for environmental conservation, environmental monitoring in support of marine biology research, territorial stewardship, and coastal engineering.


The University of Victoria’s Ocean Networks Canada monitors the west and east coasts of Canada and the Arctic to continuously deliver data in real-time for scientific research that helps communities, governments and industry make informed decisions about our future. Using cabled observatories, remote control systems and interactive sensors, and big data management ONC enables evidence-based decision-making on ocean management, disaster mitigation, and environmental protection.


We work with interns and research assistants from all over the world. They are our eyes and ears in collecting valuable data on the frequency, movements and behaviours of whales in our research area.