Reporter Recognition Program
Acknowledging the outstanding contributions of companies, organizations, and individuals that support cetacean and sea turtle research.
List of Participating Companies Coming Soon!
About the Reporter Recognition Program
The Reporter Recognition Program acknowledges the outstanding contributions of companies, organizations, and individuals that support cetacean and sea turtle research. By consistently reporting their sightings of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises) and sea turtles, they support numerous research and conservation initiatives in British Columbia and Washington.
Information about the distribution and abundance of species is key to understanding whether the status of a population is improving, steady, or declining. In addition, these sighting reports help to create safer waters for cetaceans and sea turtles by informing the establishment of marine protected areas, identifying areas of high risk, guiding targeted outreach and mitigation efforts to reduce anthropogenic threats, and alerting large commercial vessels of whales in their vicinity in order to reduce the risk of vessel strike and disturbance.
Here are some examples of how sighting reports directly support cetacean conservation:
The B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network (BCCSN):
Launched in 2000, the BCCSN is one of Canada’s longest-running and most successful citizen science programs. The BCCSN relies on mariners and coastal citizens as the primary source of information about the distribution and habitat use of whales, dolphins, porpoises, and sea turtles. Data are collected by observers and reported in a standardized way via phone, email, mailed logbook entry, webform, or the WhaleReport smartphone application. The BCCSN database, which now contains over 120,000 sighting reports, helps to monitor the distribution and abundance of at-risk cetacean and sea turtle species. Data collected from reporters is used to inform Recovery Strategies and Action Plans for marine mammals, enables the protection of essential habitat, highlights areas of high risk to these vulnerable species, and allows for the development of conservation tools to mitigate anthropogenic threats.
The WhaleReport Alert System:
The WhaleReport Alert System (WRAS) alerts the pilots and bridge crew of large commercial vessels of whale occurrence in their vicinity, using information obtained from real-time observations reported to the BCCSN via the WhaleReport app. This awareness better enables shipmasters to undertake adaptive mitigation measures, such as slowing down or altering course in the presence of whales, to reduce the risk of collision and disturbance.
The BCCSN Sightings Portal:
The BCCSN Sightings Portal is a web-based system that provides real-time cetacean location data for integration into Transport Canada’s Marine Awareness Information System (MAIS) in the event of an oil spill or other marine emergency. Cetaceans do not appear to avoid oil slicks and are therefore at high risk of inhaling and ingesting spill hydrocarbons on the water’s surface. If the location of cetaceans in the vicinity of spilled oil is known, emergency response personnel can quickly find them and use standardized methods to deter them from entering the affected area. The BCCSN Sightings Portal provides trained responders with access to real-time cetacean sightings in the event of a marine emergency, enabling a swift and effective response.