Vision, Mission and History

Our Vision

  • The sustainable co-existence of whales and humans.

Our Mission

  • To conduct and support activities to better understand and protect marine mammals and to promote awareness and responsibility for their habitats.

We do this by:

  1. Collaborating with marine industries to mutually develop solutions in an effort to mitigate the effects their activities may have on marine mammals, with a focus on the North Atlantic right whale.
  2. Conducting scientific research, sharing knowledge, and advancing evidence-based solutions. 
  3. Providing educational programs and resources on marine mammals and their environment, for the public, marine industries and government policy makers. 
  4. Releasing marine mammals that are entangled and entrapped in fishing gear.

Our History

The Canadian Whale Institute was formed in 1997 to increase awareness of the North Atlantic right whale; one of the world’s most endangered large whales. Over eight centuries of extensive hunting for their yield of commercially valuable products, baleen and oil, resulted in a significant population decline. Despite international protection since 1935, the species is still hovering on the brink of extinction: about 500 individuals remain.

The Canadian Whale Institute promotes stewardship with mariners to reduce the two human activities that are the major factors affecting the whale’s recovery – vessel strikes and entanglement in commercial fishing gear. We focus our education, research and conservation projects in Canadian waters including the Bay of Fundy, Scotian Shelf and Gulf of St. Lawrence. We strive to increase marine mammal awareness through directed programs with the marine industry, governments and the public.

The involvement of the Canadian Whale Institute in research and conservation has played a major role in the ongoing recovery efforts for the North Atlantic right whale in Canadian waters.

Our work has contributed to:

  • The amendment of the Bay of Fundy Traffic Separation Scheme reducing the risk of vessel strikes by 90% in the shipping lanes
  • Designation of the Roseway Basin Area To Be Avoided south of Nova Scotia reducing vessel transits through the area by 80%
  • Co-authorship of the Canadian Right Whale Recovery Strategy with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.


In 2014 the Campobello Whale Rescue Team, comprised primarily of volunteer fishermen, became part of the Canadian Whale Institute to better provide for a marine mammal disentanglement response program in the waters of the Canadian Maritimes.