Wildlife Conservation Fee

At SpringTide Whale Watching & Eco Tours, we believe deeply in sustainability and the conservation of the entire marine ecosystem, particularly its major inhabitants such as the Southern Resident Killer Whales. We are uniquely fortunate to be able to access one of the world’s richest marine ecosystems and want to ensure that its future is there for all of our children.

The $2 Wildlife Conservation Fee is a contribution towards the long-term sustainability and conservation of the marine food chain, which culminates with these apex predators.  Funds are used for and contributed towards longer-term projects such as Chinook Salmon conservation and revitalization, addressing one of the major problems on the food chain.

Marine mammal studies have shown that the largest single factor endangering the Southern Resident Killer Whales is the lack of prey abundance and availability.  South coast Chinook stocks have been shown to be the near exclusive prey of these highly specialized predators during much of the year.  Efforts which increase abundance and availability of Chinook stocks in these waters are predicted by many experts to materially assist in the recovery of this species.

Amounts contributed through this Wildlife Conservation Fee are also matched with volunteer labor by your SpringTide crew, staff, management and owners. It is truly a complete effort by everyone involved.

SpringTide’s Dedication to Conservation

At SpringTide Whale Watching & Eco Tours, we’re here to show you a good time. We approach our conservation efforts with just as much passion. Our goal is to conserve and preserve the fragile Salish Sea ecosystem that surrounds Vancouver Island. This in turn we hope will secure a future for our Marine Mammals and the species they depend on to survive.

SpringTide Co-Owner, Captain Dan Kukat, has contributed immensely to the Pacific Northwest’s ability to manage and protect its Whale population, most notably the Southern Resident Killer Whales. In his 24 years of leading the SpringTide fleet, Captain Dan has:

  • Authored a comprehensive set of Whale Watching guidelines. Developed in the mid-1990s when the Whale Watching industry of the West Coast was in its formative years, these guidelines are still in use today by the Pacific Whale Watch Association. They now serve as the precedent for other nations in creating their own guidelines, and as a benchmark for North American governmental agencies.
  • Developed similar guidelines concerning other marine species such as Porpoises, Seals, Sea Lions and Birds.
  • Spent twelve years, from 1996 to 2008, as President (on the Canadian side) and Chair (on the Canadian and U.S. side) of the Pacific Whale Watch Association. It’s a voluntary position, and a huge commitment that demands hundreds of hours a year.
  • Sat on the Marine Mammal Advisory Board in the early 2000’s, which consisted of a group of BC owners assembled by DFO (Department of Fisheries & Oceans) to address concerns within the Whale Watching industry and to communicate with the federal government on the status and future of the industry.
  • Was selected as one of two Canadian commercial operators to represent the whole of the Canadian Marine Ecotourism industry to a conference under NAFTA.
  • Sat on the Race Rocks Marine Protected Advisory Board and the Sport Fish Advisory Board.
  • Currently serves as a Director on the Executive Committee of the Pacific Whale Watch Association

The Kukats as a family, and SpringTide Whale Watching as a company, also contribute regularly to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, an independent association with the objective of enhancing the health and population levels of the Wild Pacific Salmon. These fish are the primary prey species for the Southern Resident Killer Whales.

Without the Salmon there will be no Whales to watch!

SpringTide strives to reduce our footprint in as many ways as we can. We’re proud to:

  • Run our vessels on biofuel
  • Use environmentally friendly paint on the bottoms of our vessels
  • Use aluminum anodes, not zinc anodes, on our vessels (zinc anodes release toxins into the Ocean)
  • Select synthetic oils over traditional oils
  • Conduct maintenance on our vessels in environmentally friendly boat yards where toxins aren’t released into the environment
  • Avoid unnecessary idling of engines
  • Opt for natural, biodegradable cleaning products on our boats and in our office.