Our annual report, Tracking Raincoast into 2023 is now out! Below, find the opening letter authored by two of our new Senior Scientists, and co-Directors of our Cetacean Conservation Research Program, Drs. Lance Barrett-Lennard and Valeria Vergara.
Is the fascination that so many of us have for the marine world innate, in our genes somehow? Or is it cultivated, instilled in us by parents, teachers, stories, and media? In our case, neither of us can remember a time when we didn’t love being on, in, or beside the ocean. Somehow, partly passion, partly luck, our childhood dreams of the sea led to careers as marine scientists. Collectively, we’ve now spent over 50 years studying cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises).
We’ve studied aspects of whale social behaviour, how they forage, what they eat, how they communicate and maintain contact, how they choose mates to avoid inbreeding, their impact on other species, and how their health closely reflects the abundance of prey in their environments. Throughout this work we’ve become increasingly concerned about their long-term prospects in the face of climate change, high underwater noise levels from ships and other human sources, chemical pollutants, and depletion of the fish and other species they depend on for food.
It was our desire to weave together our research on these incredible species with efforts to conserve them that led us to join Raincoast at the end of 2021. Raincoast is remarkably effective at using rigorous peer-reviewed science to influence government, industry, and individuals to protect marine wildlife and marine environments — exactly what was needed, in our opinion.
Our new Cetacean Conservation Research Program was launched at the beginning of 2022 and we couldn’t be more excited about it. It dovetails with some of Raincoast’s other work, notably its Healthy Waters and Wild Salmon programs; it works with First Nations, other governments, universities, and other NGOs to collaboratively measure and mitigate human-caused threats to cetaceans. We have a lot planned for the coming years and look forward to continuing this work.
Our annual report is out now!
Get highlights from the year, our science, flagship projects, staff and volunteers, as well as a peek at what’s in store for the coming year.