The Robson Bight Marine Warden Program operates in Johnstone Strait, around the Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve (RBMBER), which has been designated as an ecological reserve for the protection of critical habitat of the Northern resident killer whales. This is a unique area where the whales often come to rub their bodies along the underwater beaches. In this area our marine wardens monitor vessels and marine mammal populations, and educate boaters and kayakers about the reserve and their impacts around it. The Robson Bight Marine Warden Program is comprised of a marine based monitoring and educational component and a land based monitoring station called Eagle Eye, situated on a cliff opposite RBMBER.
History of the Reserve
The summer of 2012 marked 30 years since the establishment of the Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve by BC Parks. The Johnstone Strait Killer Whale Committee (a joint committee of BC Parks and Fisheries and Oceans Canada) Background Report (1991) states that RBMBER was established to protect key habitats for killer whales and prevent whale harassment while using these habitats. It also contributes unique opportunities to research and observe whales, and serves to protect a pristine estuary, shoreline and vegetated slopes.
RBMBER Warden Program
The RBMBER Warden Program began in 1987. The objectives of the Warden Program as outlined in the recommendations of the Johnstone Strait Killer Whale Committee are:
- ensuring that whale disturbance is reduced in the area of RBMBER;
- enhancing public understanding of the RBMBER and whale watching guidelines;
- conducting vessel/whale monitoring to assist in the development of long-term management strategies; and,
- verifying and compiling data in a standard format.
During 1991 – 1999 the program was operated by Bion Research Inc. Subsequently, Beaveridge Contracting operated the contract from 2000 – 2002. The Johnstone Strait Killer Whale Interpretive Centre Society (JSKWICS) operated the program in 2003 and 2004. Cetus Research & Conservation Society was established in January 2005 and has operated the warden program since 2005.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Warden Program click here