Pint Night: Oceans Initiative
Oceans Initiative is a team of scientists on a mission to protect marine life including whales, dolphins, sharks, salmon & seabirds, and the ecosystems on which they depend, in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. A $1 of every pint sold benefits this local non-profit on April 23, 2019.
Like the whales they study, the team at Oceans Initiative is highly migratory. They divide their time between getting their feet wet in the field wherever their work is needed and using science to inform smart decisions to conserve wildlife. They aim to enhance stewardship of the environment, by providing the most accurate scientific information possible to those responsible for environmental policy-making, by enhancing public understanding of the environment and the effects of human activities upon it, by utilizing non-invasive research methods, and by supporting women in science.
In 2018, Ocean Initiative had a very productive field season. Half of the team continued co-founder, Dr. Erin Ashe’s, long-term population and health study of Pacific white-sided dolphins off northern Vancouver Island; the other half tracked Southern Resident killer whales on San Juan Island monitoring their behavior during the Port of Vancouver’s ship slow-down trial. They are deeply concerned with protecting Southern Resident killer whales and advocate an evidence-based approach to keep orca habitat clean, quiet and full of wild salmon. Our co-founder, Dr. Rob Williams, played an important role in Governor Jay Inslee’s Southern Resident Killer Whale Task Force this year as well. Some fun facts about Oceans Initiative:
- They have a long-running non-invasive research project using photo-identification to study Pacific white-sided dolphins off northern Vancouver Island. They use these photographs to estimate the population, changes in the population size over time, and average life-span of an individual. They use photographs from encounters that span over almost thirty years.
- They have charities in both the US and Canada so that the team can work on both sides of the border to protect transboundary waters and species.
- The Oceans Initiative research vessel is named after the co-founder’s late, great, dolphin-detecting dog, Wishart. Wishart was named for two places that made them who they are: the Wishart Peninsula in the Broughton Archipelago dolphin study site; and George Wishart, a legend in the university town of St Andrews, Scotland, where they did their doctoral work. Wishart the dog spent countless hours in an open boat, making sure his people never missed a dolphin sighting. The R/V Wishart is a 31′ Sargo. It’s safe, comfortable, and fast enough to keep up with the Pacific white-sided dolphins they study.
Oceans Initiative has many opportunities to get involved. Charitable donations support their important work locally and around the world. Sharing their work with friends and family helps to spread the word. People can “join the pod” as monthly donors or reach out to collaborate through their website: