BC Whales
Research | Connect | Protect

About Us

About Us

The North Coast Cetacean Society (BCWhales)

We are a non-profit whale-research organization dedicated to the research and protection of cetaceans (all whales, dolphins and porpoise) along the northern coast of  British Columbia. This project began 16 years ago with two people, a boat and the philosophy that if you put your heart and soul into something you truly believe in, anything is possible. We were on a journey to learn about the fall and winter movements of orca. What we had not counted on was the return of the great humpback and fin whales to B.C waters, which led to the realization that we were part of a much larger picture. In 2001, with the support and permission of the Gitga'at First Nation of Hartley Bay, we built Cetacea Lab, a land based whale research station in the heart of the Great Bear Region. We welcome you to join us to learn what we can about the majestic whale and the importance of habitat that will enable the survival of the gentle giants of the sea.

Our Research

thebreachfullsizev2 (1) copy.jpg

The information and photographs contained on this website are the result of 20 years of living alongside the majestic whales of northern BC. By reflecting on the time we have spent with our neighbours, we are only just beginning to understand their nutritional, spatial, acoustic and social needs. If there is anything we have learned, it is that there is so much left to know about whales.  It has also been increasingly clear over the years just how distinctly unique the personality and culture of each individual species is and how they behave and interact with each other. Some whales display tendencies towards loneliness or shyness, while others choose a close circle of companions.

NCCS operates three research stations along the coastal regions that surround the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia. These stations focus on the populations and habitat use of humpback whales, fin whales and orca. Our research includes both land- and boat-based whale surveys, and acoustic monitoring of the area through an underwater hydrophone network. 


One of our objectives is to develop partnerships with coastal First Nation communities and NGO's to support the development of whale monitoring projects and programs and other stewardship activities. This will allow for increased documentation of the whale populations along our coast. Working as a science advisor, lead researcher Janie Wray of NCCS will provide the guidance and training needed to develop this local capacity to undertake monitoring surveys and support broader efforts for stewardship and habitat protection of the marine environment. This collaboration among research communities will increase our understanding about whale habitat use and the connections whales have with each other.


Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together. All things connect.
— Chief Seattle