Whale conservation and recovery: our plans for 2023

An excerpt from our annual report, Tracking Raincoast into 2023.

Raincoast’s new Cetacean Conservation Research Program is premised on the conviction that solutions to the threats facing at-risk species must be based on solid science. One of the ways that we contribute to this science is by conducting studies that identify cetaceans individually and track their health, association patterns, behaviour, and reproduction over time. 

This research helps us better understand their susceptibility to anthropogenic threats and the impact of those threats, and develop practical and effective measures to reduce them. 

Studying beluga communication 

Acoustic research that identifies individuals and groups based on their complex communication system helps us monitor at-risk populations and informs our work on other whales.

Conservation through genomics

Raincoast is establishing our own conservation genetics laboratory that will focus on mating systems and inbreeding in at-risk killer whale populations.

Humpback whale acoustic behaviour

Working with the North Coast Cetacean Society, we will study the acoustic behaviour of humpback whales in the marine waters of the Great Bear Rainforest, to inform our understanding of impacts of underwater noise from projected increases in shipping traffic.


NoiseTracker combines the efforts of multiple partners in monitoring changes in underwater noise levels along the BC coast, assessing the effectiveness of existing noise reduction efforts and informing the development of new measures.

Learn more about underwater noise and NoiseTracker.

Aerial photogrammetry 

Using low-impact drones, we use aerial photographs to assess the health of threatened and endangered killer whales, and examine their condition in the context of fluctuations in salmon abundance.

Beautiful display of design of inside pages and cover of Tracking Raincoast into 2023.

You can help

Raincoast’s in-house scientists, collaborating graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors make us unique among conservation groups. We work with First Nations, academic institutions, government, and other NGOs to build support and inform decisions that protect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the wildlife that depend on them. We conduct ethically applied, process-oriented, and hypothesis-driven research that has immediate and relevant utility for conservation deliberations and the collective body of scientific knowledge.

We investigate to understand coastal species and processes. We inform by bringing science to decision-makers and communities. We inspire action to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.