admin by Southern Gulf Islands Whale Sightings Network | 30 Jun 2022
Topics:
Education & Learning,Natural Ecosystems

Orcas Need Your Help

Help protect the the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) by helping us collect better scientific data.

Help protect the the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) by helping us collect better scientific data.

Southern Gulf Islands Whale Sighting Network

Who We Are

The Southern Gulf Islands Whale Sighting Network (SGIWSN) is a land-based citizen science organization established to monitor and gather data on the whales inhabiting the waters around the Southern Gulf Islands, ancestral territory of the Coast Salish people.

We work with the Saturna Island Marine Research and Education Society (SIMRES) who monitors underwater sounds with live stream hydrophones in Boundary Pass, listening for whale sounds to identify the various cetacean species and gain a better understanding of the impacts of engine noise levels.

SIMRES supports efforts to reduce human caused underwater noise which has been proven to disturb feeding activity and health of the whales.

What This Is About

We are raising money for professional rangefinders and long lens cameras to collect accurate data of the distances between whales, vessels and shore.

The Salish Sea has busy waterways where marine shipping vessels and recreational boats share the space with feeding and transiting whales. Our sighters, who are shore based volunteers, live where they can see the dangers between whales and boats. Collectively we are concerned about the well-being of the whales as marine traffic increases and some boat operators neglect to comply with the regulations.

Leaping Orca
A member of SRKW's J-Pod breaches in the Interim Sanctuary Zone off Saturna Island. Photo: Marlene Cummings

A Little History

In 2019 the Government of Canada implemented Interim Sanctuary Zones (ISZs) to assist in the recovery efforts of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs), a distinct population in peril with only 75 individuals remaining. Sanctuary zones were created to reduce acoustic and physical disturbance in traditional key foraging areas for the SRKWs. The zones prohibit fishing and boats within their boundaries and two of these ISZs are off Saturna and Pender Islands. Information on the ISZs can be found here: https://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/mammals-mammiferes/whales-baleines/srkw-measures-mesures-ers-eng.html

The ISZs were a catalyst for the start-up of the Southern Gulf Islands Whale Sighting Network. Since 2020 the SGIWSN has documented the whales and their movements in these waters.

Source: Spyhopper.ca, Retrieved June 18, 2022

Examples of our research to document vessel infractions in the ISZs can be viewed here: https://simres.ca/projects/sgi-whale-sighting-network/

Our findings are shared with governments, universities and individual researchers and our sighting information is available to the public on the Spyhopper.ca website.

A collaborative working relationship has formed with Fisheries and Oceans Canada Whale Protection Unit and Parks Canada Warden Service. A protocol for documenting and reporting marine mammal violations and vessel infractions has been jointly developed to enable these organizations to follow-up with violators and in some cases issue warnings, tickets and/or fines.

Fishing Vessel with Orcas
SRKW's L-Pod travelling in Boundary Pass with fishing vessel dangerously close. Photo: Marlene Cummings

Why We Need Your Help

To continue this essential work, sighters on Saturna and Pender Islands require additional professional-grade equipment. Rangefinders are needed to establish vessel distances from shore and high-quality cameras are needed to document the whale and vessel interactions. Your donation will help our sighters make accurate observations that will enhance the quality of our data to encourage better enforcement.

In other words, we'll be able to protect the whales better and give them safer and quieter waterways.

Whale Sighters using a range finder. Photo: MWelton

Thirty years ago we saw chinook salmon runs glistening on the surface of the water below the Oak Bluffs, closely followed by the magnificent sound of J-Pod breaching and blowing. This is the location of one of the Interim Sanctuary Zones. If we do it right we could see the salmon and J-Pod return to this critical habitat.
Mary Anne Pare, Sighter, SGIWSN

Make a Donation

SIMRES aims to raise $12,000 to purchase 4 rangefinders and 4 long range lens cameras. And, if we raise more we will be able to purchase additional cameras and rangefinders for our sighters, supporting further protection for our cetacean friends.

Please consider making a donation. You can choose any amount you like (min $10) by selecting "Pledge without reward" or select one of the reward categories.

Donations over $20 will receive a charitable tax receipt from SIMRES.

SIMRES is based on TEKTEKSEN (Saturna Island). We acknowledge the ancestral territories of the Coast and Straits Salish peoples on which we are based, particularly the Tsawout and Tseycum Nations, their pre-Confederate Douglas Treaty rights, and their asserted aboriginal rights and title in this area.

Discuss this project...

3 comments
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Susie Washington Smyth on 1st Jul 2022

Together we can make a difference! Join in the fun.

jbarrs101@gmail.com
James Barrs on 1st Jul 2022

Great initiative. Good luck.

rob@wayblaze.com
Rob Barrs Wayblaze on 30th Jun 2022

This is such a fantastic initiative to protect the endangered SRKWs. Thanks for all you do to protect these iconic creatures of Salish Sea

Anonymous

6 hours ago


Contributed $100 CAD
Mark Timmings

2 days ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Anonymous

2 days ago


Contributed $76 CAD
Áine Kirk

3 days ago

Contributed $20 CAD
Bill & Bronwen T...

3 days ago

Contributed $2,500 CAD
Elizabeth May

4 days ago


Contributed $200 CAD
Anonymous

4 days ago


Contributed $100 CAD
Bianca Turfanda

5 days ago

Contributed $20 CAD
Anonymous

6 days ago


Contributed $5,000 CAD
Paul Petrie

6 days ago

Contributed $150 CAD
eyes on the water
Sue Kronen

6 days ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Margaret Paterson

11 days ago

Contributed $75 CAD
Martin Wale

12 days ago

Contributed $100 CAD
As promised!
Anonymous

13 days ago


Contributed $50 CAD
Anonymous

14 days ago


Contributed $40 CAD
Melanie Gaines

14 days ago


Contributed $35 CAD
Monica Petrie

15 days ago

Contributed $80 CAD
Collected donations, Pender Island
Jane Hamilton

15 days ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Nancy and Darrel...

15 days ago

Contributed $200 CAD
Kevin Bird

15 days ago

Contributed $100 CAD
Anika & Geoff Pe...

16 days ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Rebecca Gifford

17 days ago

Contributed $40 CAD
Southern Gulf Is...

17 days ago

Contributed $104 CAD
Together we can make this a better place for the whales.
Kit Petrie

18 days ago

Contributed $45 CAD
Long live citizen science!
Anonymous

19 days ago


Contributed $100 CAD
Susan Mulkey

20 days ago

Contributed $100 CAD
Thank you for your dedication!
Maureen Welton

20 days ago

Contributed $200 CAD
Meenal and Sanji...

20 days ago

Contributed $101 CAD
Anonymous

20 days ago


Contributed $300 CAD
Keep up the good work!
Anonymous

21 days ago


Contributed $25 CAD
go for it
Anonymous

21 days ago


Contributed $25 CAD
Pam Janszen

24 days ago

Contributed $50 CAD
John Keay

27 days ago

Contributed $100 CAD
Jeanne Crerar

27 days ago

Contributed $100 CAD
Anonymous

28 days ago


Contributed $300 CAD
Anonymous

28 days ago


Contributed $50 CAD
Anonymous

29 days ago


Contributed $100 CAD
Carmen Craioveanu

29 days ago

Contributed $100 CAD
Anonymous

1 month ago


Contributed $50 CAD
We’re far, far away but believe in the project.
Anonymous

1 month ago


Contributed $30 CAD
Thank you for all the care and work done to protect our whales.
Anonymous

1 month ago


Contributed $100 CAD
Anonymous

1 month ago


Contributed $100 CAD
Patti Bacchus

1 month ago

Contributed $100 CAD
Robert Austin

1 month ago

Contributed $150 CAD
Jen Arbo

1 month ago

Contributed $20 CAD
Wendy Doell

1 month ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Best of luck with your wonderful organization
Carol Yakura

1 month ago

Contributed $100 CAD
Mary Anne Pare

1 month ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Go Sighters go!
Monica Petrie

1 month ago

Contributed $100 CAD
Watch them from shore
Glenn Welton

1 month ago

Contributed $150 CAD
Deborah Gibson

1 month ago

Contributed $300 CAD
Sharon Wagner

1 month ago

Contributed $100 CAD
Instead of full name: Sharon and Sheila
Lucy Quayle

1 month ago

Contributed $100 CAD
Good luck and great work for setting this up!
Joanna Temple

1 month ago

Contributed $50 CAD
Susan Washington...

1 month ago

Contributed $100 CAD
Together we can make a difference!
Anonymous

1 month ago


Contributed $20 CAD
Keep up the great work!!
Rob Barrs Wayblaze

1 month ago

Contributed $100 CAD
This is such a fantastic initiative to protect the endangered SRKWs. Thanks for all you do to protect these iconic creatures of Salish Sea!!

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