Environment & Ethics

The environment and ethics are at the core of everything Stubbs Island Whale Watching is about. From the company's beginnings in 1980, our concern for the ocean and how we affect the whales has formed an ongoing effort to support conservation and research.

The concern over the potential commercialization of Robson Bight as a logging dump and sort in the late 1970's started a ground swell of research and conservation activities. It was known only to a few people that the beaches near the mouth of the Tsitika River were of importance to salmon eating orcas known as the Northern residents. The 'rubbing beaches' formed a key social activity for these close-knit families of whales. Researchers began identifying individual orcas in the early 1970's lead by Dr. Michael Bigg who had developed a method of photo identification using marks on the dorsal fins and saddle patches. 

The early research done by Michael Bigg has been the basis for determining most of the key information we now understand about killer whales concerning types and populations. Although Dr. Bigg passed away in 1990, his work has been recognized with the renaming of the Robson Bight/Michael Bigg Ecological Reserve and the transient killer whales are now called Bigg's Killer Whales.

Orca Mother & Calf

Stubbs Island Whale Watching philosopy is to minimize our impact on the environment and the whales while providing the best possible experience for our guests. We appreciate the opportunity to share this unique area and the great diversity and abundance of marine mammals. We support the Whale Watching Guidelines and strive to allow the whales to be observed in their natural environment without being disturbed. By using larger vessels it reduces our impact on their environment and minimizes our consumption of fossil fuels.

We respect the ongoing research and conservation through support of several local and provincial programs including  Killer Whale Adoption Program, OrcaLab, Cetacean Sightings Network, Marine Education and Research Society, Whale Intrepretive Centre, SOS Marine Conservation Foundation, Marine Mammal Response Network, conservation efforts of the local dive club and a local environmental stewardship bursary.