The 2020 MERS on-line auction will held from Friday, March 27th at 5 pm until Sunday, April 5th at 7 pm PDT.
The first auction items can be previewed at this link. Auction items are sustainable, locally produced, have a marine theme/connection and have a proven retail value (min. $100). See past auctions here: 2018, 2019. If you are interested in contributing to the auction, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The online auction is directed at covering Marine Education and Research Society operating costs. Below is a list of some of the work accomplished in 2019 with less than 3 full-time positions. We hope this summary reflects how efficient and productive an organization MERS strives to be. This is possible through the support of many and, while we have been successful in achieving funding for some of our work, it remains challenging to cover operating costs.
Highlights of work achieved by MERS in 2019:
Educational and outreach
- Development of the guide “Marine Mammals and Boaters” for use nation-wide with the Canadian Power Squadron;
- 104 additional “See a Blow? Go Slow!” signs for strategic positioning on British Columbia’s coast to educate boaters on how to reduce risk to whales;
- 21 presentations aimed at reducing risks to whales, reaching 1,200+ people from coastal BC; and
- Trained 95 people through two Marine Naturalist Courses with information including actions to reduce risk to marine mammal and what do to in case of incidences of disturbance / injury / entanglement.
- Engaging with more than 500 people about reducing risk to whales at our office in Port McNeill.
- Over 1150 data entries for sightings of Humpbacks in 2019 (with over 500 more sightings to process);
- Further data collection and analysis of scarring in Humpbacks whales indicative of a previous entanglement (study conducted in collaboration with DFO);
- Data collection for research into Humpback Whale feeding strategies;
- Continued collaboration with colleagues also documenting Humpbacks off the coast of British Columbia to update the BC province-wide Humpback catalogue (for completion in spring 2020); and
- Publication of research on sightings rates of Minke Whales.
Marine mammal rescue and response
- Ongoing data collection to inform areas of high entanglement risk off northern Vancouver Island and the central coast of BC;
- Monitored whales during 6 days when commercial fisheries overlapped with areas of high whale density, to improve reporting of incidents, and to respond or support responses when needed; and
- Communication / coordination for 17 incidents.
- Winner of the 2019 ECOSTAR Awards for Ecological Stewardship (non-profit) and Educational Leadership (individual).