Vessel built for trophy hunting repurposed for wildlife viewing – an inspiring move towards the new conservation economy

Raincoast Conservation Foundation is raising funds to purchase the guide outfitting rights and Ocean Light Adventures has purchased the guide outfitter’s boat in the Southern Great Bear Rainforest tenure.

Sidney BC: Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Ocean Light Adventures are making way for  the  new conservation economy – transitioning away from guided trophy hunting and towards ecotourism. Raincoast is currently working towards purchasing the exclusive guiding rights in the Southern Great Bear Rainforest Tenure, which would stop commercial trophy hunting in over a quarter of the Great Bear Rainforest. This comes with news that Ocean Light Adventures has just completed their refit of Afterglow, a boat built in the 70s in Steveston to accommodate trophy hunters. 

Ocean Light Adventures has offered award winning wildlife viewing trips in BC’s Great Bear Rainforest for over 30 years. Their purchase of MV Afterglow came after a tragic boat fire that took their previous vessel, Ocean Light II. In their search for a replacement vessel, they found themselves on a cold, dirty power boat, fit with gun racks and storage for wildlife taken as trophies. Not put off, they continued their investigation to see if there was potential to repurpose this vessel. 

Ocean Light Adventures has been refitting MV Afterglow throughout the last year, a boat that they purchased from the guide outfitter who is selling the Southern Great Bear Rainforest Tenure to Raincoast. 19 Ecotourism companies run wildlife viewing operations in this region, with Ocean Light Adventures being one of them. 

“We were inspired by Raincoast Conservation Foundation’s 16 year campaign to stop commercial trophy hunting by purchasing the hunting tenures and we embraced the idea of giving the boat a new purpose and focus,” said Jenn Broom from Ocean Light Adventures.

“These acquisitions are so important to ecotourism and the wildlife viewing  industry,” explains Broom. Less than one month into their campaign, Raincoast has already raised $183,133.90, 10% of their goal. 

“A big part of our motivation in purchasing these hunting tenures is to support the large and growing wildlife based tourism industry in BC. It is a powerful example of the just transition from the unpopular and unsustainable activity of trophy hunting, into a much more valuable non-extractive industry, which will play an important role in BC’s new economy,”  said Brian Falconer, Raincoast Conservation Foundation’s Guide Outfitter Coordinator.