Cetacean Research Program

Photo: Killer WhalePlease help conservation research on killer whales in the Strait of Georgia

*If you see killer whales in the Strait of Georgia we would like to hear about it.  Call 250-756-7253 as soon as you can with the location, number and travel direction of the whales.

The Cetacean Research Program at the Pacific Biological Station conducts scientific studies on whales, dolphins and porpoises in waters off Canada’s west coast. It was established in 2001, when the Station’s long-term research on killer whales was expanded to include other cetaceans considered Endangered or Threatened under the new Species-at-Risk Act.

There are 25 species of cetaceans recorded from the waters of British Columbia. Although some of these are commonly observed in nearshore waters, many are rarely seen, either because they are naturally uncommon in the area, they are found in offshore habitats, or they were depleted by commercial whaling. Our current field studies are focused on assessing the conservation status of killer whales, humpback whales, blue whales, fin whales, sei whales and North Pacific right whales. These studies involve a variety of field methodologies, including photo-identification using natural markings, ship-based visual surveys, and remote underwater acoustic monitoring.


Cetacean Research Program
Pacific Biological Station
3190 Hammond Bay Rd
Nanaimo, B.C. V9T 6N7
Phone: (250) 756-7253
Email: John.K.Ford@dfo-mpo.gc.ca