History of The Whale Sanctuary Project
The Whale Sanctuary Project had its origins at a meeting, convened by Dr. Lori Marino, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in August 2015. Those present included marine mammal scientists, veterinarians and trainers, engineers and architects, marketing, public relations and fund-raising specialists, and directors of related NGOs.
They discussed the potential for the development of a seaside sanctuary and the ongoing care of whales and dolphins who might be retired from entertainment facilities or rescued from injury or sickness in the wild. The meeting concluded with a first draft of the mission and goals for a future organization.
Public Workshop and Second Meeting
In December 2015, Dr. Lori Marino and marine mammal scientist Dr. Naomi Rose led a workshop at the Society for Marine Mammalogy Conference in San Francisco. It included presentations on topics related to creating a seaside sanctuary, including engineering, law and policy, and care of whales in a sanctuary situation.
The day after the conference, those experts and several others met for an in-depth planning session for the creation of the new organization.
Incorporation and Early Work
In April 2016, the Whale Sanctuary Project was incorporated. It received initial funding including a $1 million pledge from Munchkin, Inc. for the purpose of locating and securing the best possible site in North America for a sanctuary.
Three months later, we began the process of site selection with desktop analyses of hundreds of coves, bays and inlets in Washington State, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Maine.
In May 2017, the board invited Charles Vinick (board member and treasurer) to become Executive Director of the organization.