Why It's Important

Whale watching companies have established and adhere to responsible whale watching practices to promote sustainability and co-existence between people and marine mammals. It’s never been more important for wildlife viewing to be done responsibly in order to protect the health and welfare of all marine life and ensure the long term viability of viewing and learning about marine mammals in their natural habitat.

With a low volume of vessel traffic, and protection from rough seas and open ocean swells, Vancouver Island North is an excellent area for whale watching from kayaks, small power vessels, sailboats, and from shore. Read on to learn best practices and how you can contribute to responsible wildlife viewing.

Guidelines / Regulations

Whale watching guidelines provide information on responsible cetacean viewing for commercial and recreational boaters. Whale-watching around the Vancouver Island North region is monitored by local charitable organizations and enforced by federal officers.

Information for Boaters

Educational campaigns inform boaters about cetaceans in the area and whale watching guidelines. Workshops provide whale-watching operators and naturalists with current knowledge on viewing practices, marine mammal natural history, and research.

About North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association (NIMMSA)

NIMMSA conducts conservation and business activities aimed at benefiting marine mammals, the economy and the marine environment off northern Vancouver Island, with members from 90% of all eco-tour companies in the region. NIMMSA members must meet strict criteria before applying, and abide by a regionally specific code of conduct.

Tourism operators in the Vancouver Island North region who are members of the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association (NIMMSA) will donate $1.00 per guest per day to an industry implemented conservation fund. Monies contributed to this fund will be annually distributed to selected organizations who have applied to NIMMSA for grants to conduct marine conservation focused activities in the region.

Purpose of Ha-ma-yas Stewardship Network

The Ha-ma-yas Stewardship Network serves to support a regionally consistent and effective approach to stewardship across all of our territories, and to coordinate, strengthen and build our stewardship capacity and capability in areas such as compliance monitoring and enforcement capabilities.

The Network also serves to:

  • Support the protection of our cultural, economic, and the ecological values throughout our territories;
  • Support research related to key priorities in our territories;
  • Coordinate and provide standardized training;
  • Ensure a consistent data collection system is in place and that recognized data gathering methods are used so that the information can be incorporated into our respective decision making processes.