The Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) is a registered Canadian charity dedicated to promoting conservation and understanding of marine ecosystems through scientific research, environmental education, and marine wildlife response. We incorporated in 2010 and are based on northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia in the Territory of the Kwakwaka'wakw.
Our team is comprised of marine biologists and educators highly dedicated to marine conservation. While based on Canada's west coast, team members have worked in many countries and oceans. Click here for background on our team. We are a small organization doing big work.
Our research conservation efforts are focused on Humpback Whales, Minke Whales and Mola species off the coast of British Columbia but has also included work to understand and reduce risks to additional marine mammals in BC and in other parts of the world.
What We Do:
Highlights of work achieved by MERS in 2020
Educational and Outreach
- 9.5 days of monitoring commercial fisheries overlapping with areas of high whale density, to improve reporting of incidents and to respond, or provide support to rescue efforts, when needed;
- 5.5 days of support for whale entanglement response by coordinating and undertaking search efforts for known entangled Humpback Whales; and
- Communication / coordination for 23 marine mammal incidents, ranging from violations of the Marine Mammal Regulations to marine mammal entanglement.
- Hiring our second full-time employee, Chloe Warren, enabled by funding through ECO Canada.
How can all this work be achieved by a small team?
Through a dedicated community of supporters who help through:
- Donations (includes donations of items to our annual online auction);
- Contributions of sightings / photos;
- Sponsorship of Humpback Whales;
- Purchases of sustainable items from our Ocean Store;
- Sponsorship and/or positioning of “See a Blow? Go Slow” signs;
- Volunteer efforts (in particular this applies to the efforts of our Board and data analysts); AND
- Amplification of our educational efforts to reduce threats to marine life and boaters through:
Current Grant Funding
- Government of Canada (Fisheries and Oceans Canada Marine Mammal Response Program and Habitat Stewardship Program for Aquatic Species at Risk)
- ECO Canada
- Canada Summer Jobs
- North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association Conservation Fund
- The Anonymous Foundation
- Ocean Bridge (providing volunteers)