Background

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 are based on northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia and incorporated in 2010. 

MERS formed in order to bring together existing marine research and education projects as well as to provide a platform from which to conduct further work. 

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 is focused on investigating Humpback and Minke Whales in 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. MERS educational activities have included many presentations, lectures, and programs aimed at a wide audience. 

Please see below for a summary of our efforts for 2017, achieved with less than two full-time paid positions. Such efficiency is possible as a result of extensive volunteer efforts from our team and a broad community of support. 

Highlights of work achieved by MERS in 2017

  • 2,250+ data entries for sightings of Humpbacks
  • 170 hours spent monitoring whales during commercial fisheries in case there is an entanglement and in order to better understand the risk; 
  • 80 additional “See a Blow? Go Slow!” signs for strategic positioning on British Columbia’s coast (70 of these were made possible through sponsorship); 
  • 24 presentations on our research and reducing risks to whales, reaching more than 1,530 people from coastal BC; 
  • In partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, expanding our entanglement scarring study to a coast-wide effort;
  • Production of the “How to Save a Whale” resource to help people understand what to do in case of finding an entangled whale which has reached over 35,000 viewers and is being shared internationally;
  • Managing “Who You Gonna Call” – a series of 4 short videos to increase awareness about risks to marine mammals.;
  • Submitting our research on trap-feeding for publication;
  • Collaborating to update the British Columbia province-wide Humpback catalogue;
  • Engagement with media leading to over 35 articles and radio interviews aimed at reducing risks to whales; and
  • Training more than 45 people at our Marine Naturalist Workshop to enhance the calibre of conservation information provided on our coast.

All photos on this site provided by and © Jared Towers, Christie McMillan, Jackie Hildering, and Heidi Krajewsky, unless otherwise indicated. 

Photos are not to be used without permission.

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