VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C- The North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association (NIMMSA) recently provided over $35,000 in grants from the NIMMSA Conservation Fund.  

The money for the grants was accumulated from a one dollar per guest, per day fee that all members of NIMMSA implement when guiding tours in the North Island region.

The one dollar fee was put into effect last year, this is the first time NIMMSA was able to distribute those funds among chosen applicants.    

“We had a review panel, and we looked at lots of different things, not only the project but the background of the projects and how well they could incorporate the funds we were giving them as well,” said Andrew Jones, president of NIMMSA.

The grants were awarded to the Marine Education and Research Society, Cetus Research & Conservation Society, Pacific Orca Society (Orca Lab), Salmon Coast Field Station Society, and the University of Victoria.

“We did get quite a diverse group of applications, some of them doing more research, some education and some really unique studies in lesser known marine animals that might not get the focus the orcas or other marine mammals do,” said Jones.

“The common goal between all of them is having a benefit to the environment. As whale watchers and operators who depend on the marine environment, it’s not just about one species, we’re looking at the health of the entire marine environment.”

According to Jones, NIMMSA’s goal is for the Conservation Fund to be an established grant provider that organizations can apply to year after year.

“We are just happy as an organization that all of our members really got behind this conservation fund.”

NIMMSA conducts conservation and business activities aimed at benefiting marine mammals, the economy and the marine environment off northern Vancouver Island.