Education and Cooperative Programs - Public Outreach

Gaskin Museum of Marine Life - Bay of Fundy

While our marine natural history museum is tiny, we pack as much as possible into it. You are greeted by volunteers and students who live on Grand Manan or come to the island to help and to learn about marine mammals at the same time. The museum is named in honour of the late Dr. David Gaskin, the founder and Executive Director of the GMWSRS from 1981-1998.


Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station Bulletins
This bulletin series was begun in 1997.  A few are available as PDF files.  To download the  Bulletin No. 3 or the Flashcard you must have Acrobat Reader.  If you do not have this program click on this "Get Acrobat Reader" icon to download it.

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  • GMWSRS Bulletin No. 1.  D.E. Gaskin. 1997.  Marine mammals of the Bay of Fundy with a reference summary of the conservation and protection status of marine mammals in all Canadian waters.  (Low numbers of printed copies available - to be revised and updated soon.)
  • GMWSRS No. 2.  D.E. Gaskin.  1998.  Publications by scientific staff and collaborators of the Whale & Seabird Research Station, New Brunswick. (The contents of GMWSRS No. 2 can be found in our publications pages above.)
  • GMWSRS No. 3. S. Wong, R. Ronconi and D. Johnston.  2001.  Guidelines for releasing harbour porpoises and other whales from herring weirs. (PDF - size 2270 KB)
    Releasing Porpoises from Herring Weirs: Flashcard  (PDF - size 879 KB)  (This accompanies the bulletin and was produced as a laminated card.)
  • GMWSRS No. 4.  R. A. Ronconi and S.N.P. Wong.  2002.  Seabird colonies of the Grand Manan archipelago: 2001 census results and guidelines for surveys and future monitoring. (Limited number of printed copies.)
  • GMWSRS No.5. L.D. Murison. 2003. North Atlantic Right Whales. A Resource for Teachers. (coming soon as a PDF)
  • GMWSRS No. 6. L.D. Murison. 2003. Information To Help You Watch Marine Mammals And Other Wildlife Around Grand Manan. (PDF - size 199 KB)
    Species Description. Supplemental Information. (PDF - size 195 KB)
  • GMWSRS No. 7. L.D. Murison. 2010. Right Whale Stewards. (This is a booklet outlining the program of becoming a Right Whale Steward) (PDF - size 1,341 KB)

Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station Natural History Notes
This note series was begun in 2003.

GMWSRS Natural History Notes No. 1.  L.D. Murison.  2003.  Right whales in the Bay of Fundy. Calves About! Watch Out! The Bay of Fundy is a nursery area for North Atlantic right whales.  (Printed copies are available and the material is also found in watching right whales) (PDF - size 385 KB)

GMWSRS Natural History Notes No. 2.  GMWSRS Natural History Notes No. 2. L.D. Murison. 2008. North Atlantic Right Whales and Fishing. Entanglements and Entrapments. (PDF - size 1455 KB)

Other publications
Public Education Programs - Grand Manan

Our staff is dedicated to public education. We provide naturalist duties, lectures and slide shows for island groups and institutions and other groups coming to the island which include:

Please contact us if you are interested in these services for your groups coming to Grand Manan.

Co-operative Programs

The Harbour Porpoise Release Program is our prime interest, a co-operative program with the local herring weir fishers of Grand Manan and area.   Begun in 1991, the Harbour Porpoise Release Program was developed by the Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station to assist herring weir operators safely remove harbour porpoises from their weir without loosing the trapped herring. Porpoises swim into herring weirs during the night but most do not swim out again. While they are inside the weirs they are able to swim, breathe and eat. We work with weir operators and remove the porpoise(s) from the weir in our small boats, allowing the weir operators to harvest their herring catch. We have also developed protocols to safely release large whales such as minkes, humpbacks and right whales. 

We are also involved in the Whale Emergency Network in the Bay of Fundy.  This team is primarily focused on right whales but is capable of disentangling other species as the need arises.  This is a co-operative program with a number of groups including the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, New Brunswick Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Campobello Whale Rescue Centre, East Coast Ecosystems, New England Aquarium, Center for Coastal Studies, local whale watch companies, interested residents and the GMWSRS.  During the winter some of our researchers who are at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC, are involved in disentangling whales - primarily young humpback whales.

We are part of an informal Maritime Marine Animal Network, a co-operative organization of a number of Maritime organizations including the New Brunswick Museum, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Marine Animal Response Society (MARS), the Atlantic Veterinary College, the Campobello Whale Rescue Team, the Canadian Whale Institute, the Whale Stewardship Program and others.

We are also a member of the Fundy New Brunswick Community Action Partnership Program Committee (FNBCC), working with other New Brunswick communities on issues surrounding preparedness for environmental emergencies such as oil spills.  Our main focus is wildlife issues but our managing director has developed the Community Action Partnership Plan (CAPP) Contingency Plan for Grand Manan Island and has coordinated oil spill training sessions for island residents.

We were also a member of the former Right Whale Recovery Plan and Implementation Team, the former Right Whale Recovery Strategy Team and are currently a member of the Right Whale Network, all dedicated to promoting the recovery of North Atlantic right whales. We were also a part of the Recovery Team committee, chaired by Dr. Moira Brown, to redesign the shipping lanes into the Port of Saint John to avoid the highest concentrations of right whales. We are a member and on the board of the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium.

We also support and promote the Code of Ethics (or PDF - size 38 KB) for water-based tour operators in the Bay of Fundy and have developed brochures for whale watching companies and developed data collection protocols. We also developed the Voluntary Code of Conduct for Fishermen Working Near Whales (PDF - size 236 KB) which allows them to opt for various practices that may help reduce whale entanglements in fishing gear and promote safe boating practices around whales.

Information Requests

We also assist students with inquiries by providing a variety of information which they can incorporate into their projects such as what Sarah Lehnert and Marley Russell did for the District 16 Student Talent on Parade (STOP) Fair.  They were chosen from Croft Elementary School in Miramichi, NB to participate in STOP.  A bilingual project, "Making the World a Better Place" promotes moving the shipping lanes in the Bay of Fundy to reduce the risk of right whales being hit by vessels.  The girls also participated in the University of New Brunswick - Saint John Campus Marine Biology Camp.  Both girls were nine years old and Grade 4 students at the time of the photo (May 1998). They were certainly on the right track.  With great co-operation from all sectors the shipping lanes were successfully modified to avoid high concentrations of right whales.  These changes go into effect July1, 2003.  Dr. Moira Brown of the Center for Coastal Studies and the Canadian Whale Institute received a Gulf of Maine Visionary Award in 2002 for her work as coordinator of the lane changes.

We also provide guidance for crafts people when crafting new whale products.  We are then proud to sell these crafts in our gift shop.

Looking for a Career in Marine Mammal Science?

If you wish information on pursuing a career in marine mammal science, an excellent document was prepared a number of years ago entitled "Strategies for Pursuing a Career in Marine Mammal Science".  Although biased toward the United States the information is still valuable for those living elsewhere.

Looking for More Marine Mammal Links?

Try the link page of the Society for Marine Mammalogy or Whale Net.

Solving Mysteries

We also help with small mysteries when we can.  Strange fish, bones and other found objects find their way to our door.  Sometimes they are easy to solve, sometimes it takes some detective work but usually someone at the GMWSRS knows the answer or knows someone who will. Many people donate their object to our museum for others to see.  If the specimen is rare it may be donated to the Atlantic Reference Centre in St. Andrews, NB or the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John, NB.  The bone shown here sometimes confuses those who find them since it is reminiscent of a skull when seen from some angles but is actually.....? answer?
GMWSRS 24 Route 776, Grand Manan, NB, Canada E5G 1A1
© Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station Inc.

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Page revised April 30th 2010