Straitwatch is a stewardship-based marine mammal monitoring and education program operating around Vancouver Island, BC. Our program, operated by Cetus Research & Conservation Society, monitors vessel activity around marine mammals, especially killer whales, and provides boaters with interpretive talks and information on the Be Whale Wise – Marine Wildlife Viewing Guidelines. By increasing awareness of the threats these animals face, such as habitat degradation, decreased food availability, increasing underwater noise and contaminant levels, we encourage boaters to modify their behaviour to reduce their impact on these species.
We operate Straitwatch in Johnstone Strait (from Port Hardy to Campbell River), in Haro Strait and Juan De Fuca Straits off Victoria and in Clayoquot and Barkley Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Our goals are:
- to minimize the potential disturbance of vessel traffic on killer whales and other marine wildlife by promoting guidelines for responsible viewing;
- to increase public awareness of the potential consequences of inappropriate viewing behaviour and current ecological issues affecting marine wildlife locally and globally;
- to promote respect for and understanding of the marine environment; and,
- to involve communities and individuals in developing and carrying out the program.
Straitwatch Kayak Program
Our kayak stewardship team educates kayakers about the Be Whale Wise Guidelines for Paddlers in western Johnstone Strait, Queen Charlotte Strait and Blackfish Sound, both on the water and at popular kayak pullouts, beaches and kayak base camps.