The North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association (NIMMSA) recently provided grants from the NIMMSA Conservation Fund to five different research, education, and conservation organizations totalling over $35,000.
Grants were awarded to the Marine Education and Research Society, Cetus Research & Conservation Society, Pacific Orca Society (Orca Lab), Salmon Coast Field Station Society, and the University of Victoria. Projects include; updating the catalogue of humpback whales documented from the northern Strait of Georgia to the north end of Vancouver Island, improvements to a research structure across from the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve that supports the Robson Bight Warden Program, replacing two hydrophones and computer equipment for killer whale acoustic data collection, and analysis and publication of data on salmon populations as well as vocal behaviours of minke whales off northern Vancouver Island.
NIMMSA president, Andrew Jones, stated, “the 2017 season was NIMMSA’s first year collecting the user day fee and our membership was extremity positive about implementing this fee and the benefit it can have for our local waters and wildlife.”
Mr. Jones continued, “we expect marine based tourism, especially wildlife viewing, to continue growing on northern Vancouver Island and our membership wants to ensure any growth is done responsibly and does not adversely effect the marine mammals that both locals and visitors from around the enjoy viewing in our local waters.”
During the first year of the NIMMSA Conservation fund nine applications were received requesting over $74,000 in funding. According to Mr. Jones. “many of the applications received were for extremely worthwhile projects and while we could not fund them all this year we hope these organization continue their good work and apply again in 2019.”
NIMMSA conducts conservation and business activities aimed at benefiting marine mammals, the economy and the marine environment off northern Vancouver Island. NIMMSA’s work ranges from policy development to supporting field-based conservation efforts. The NIMMSA Conservation Fund is financed by a $1.00 per guest per day fee that is mandatory for all NIMMSA members to implement when operating guided tours within the NIMMSA area. NIMMSA members include twenty-eight companies that benefit from marine mammal viewing between Campbell River and Port Hardy.