About OERS

The activities of today’s society threatens the sensitive marine ecology and all life within it. Changes in our environment have increased the threat to marine and land animals from disasters, both natural (hurricanes, floods, etc) and man-made (oil spills, etc).

The Oceanographic Environmental Research Society is committed to:

a) respond to such catastrophes, ensuring these animals are cared for, and

​b) to the conservation and preservation of marine life and natural habitats. OERS will fulfil those commitments through research, education, rescue and rehabilitation.

Although our home office is in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, most of our education and training activities are in Toronto, Canada at the moment. Rescues though, are conducted wherever needed.

Journal of Marine Animals and Their Ecology

The Journal of Marine Animals and Their Ecology is an electronic journal focused but not limited to issues related to the preservation of the marine environment, protection, conservation, rescue and rehabilitation of marine life.


The preservation of the marine environment and the animals that live within it is dependent upon an educated and well informed society. OERS has established various programs to help raise public awareness on protection of the marine environment.​

  • Continuing education
  • Training program (Volunteers, Internships)
  • Professional education (Veterinary students; Internships; Undergraduate students)
  • Public seminars with invited guest speakers
  • Reading programs for children
  • Educational exhibits


OERS is committed to the protection and conservation of marine life. As part of this goal, OERS supports and promotes a variety of research endeavors into causes of death as well as how to improve care to stressed and injured animals. Specifically OERS has developed a Research Section, headed up by its Senior Scientist Dr Carin Wittnich and is conducting research into causes of deaths, strandings and the impact of various environmental stressors on marine animal well being. Summer studentships and internships are available on a competitive basis.

  • Heavy metal levels in marine mammals along Canada’s coastline
  • Environmental predictors of marine mammal deaths
  • Pollutants both new and old
  • Environmental protection – is it working?
  • New techniques in emergency care & rehabilitation

Message from the Director of Operations

“Why Toronto?” That is the first question I normally get when I meet people and start talking about OERS. My response to that question is always the same one- “Why not! Does a well organized group of people interested in saving marine animals and the environment have to be situated near a body of water?” Not in today’s world!

Advancement in technology has given any individual the capability with the simple touch of a single button on their home computer to experience first hand the effects of environmental disasters happening around the world.

The same capability allows individuals to communicate with or offer their help to numerous environmental groups protecting different species in various ecosystems such as the endangered marmosets in the Brazilian rainforest, sea otters off the coast of California, polar bears throughout the Arctic Region or tigers in the highlands of India.

Would it have been possible 20 years ago for children around the world help move Keiko (a killer whale!) from Mexico to Iceland via Oregon? I strongly doubt it. So technology has allowed people who were once out of touch or incapable of helping the potential to now participate in worldwide environmental events as they occur.

If a 10 ton Killer whale can be moved thousands of miles around the world, why shouldn’t it be possible for a group of well trained individuals, located in Toronto, to travel to either coastline of Canada to help with the treatment of sick or injured marine animals bringing with them a planeload of equipment? 

​Better yet why can’t they assist in major environmental disasters throughout the world such as the Exxon Valdez or the recent Spanish oil spill?

​With the world’s longest coastline, shouldn’t Canada become the leader in saving marine animals caught in environmental disasters or develop new life saving techniques to improve the chances of these animals. Unfortunately the various levels of government in Canada have not had the foresight to start any such programs and that is why OERS was created.

​OERS has slowly evolved from an idealistic hope to physical reality. As you work your way through the OERS website you will see that much has been accomplished, however future plans and projects will be exciting and rewarding times for those who believe in OERS and are willing to give up a small amount of time to lend a hand.

Saving our marine environment and all of the species that live within it will allow future generations of humans the opportunity to experience the joy and to see the beauty of these animals which can only occur if they are allowed to live in a pollution and stress free habitats.

​Please feel free to respond to this message, any other part of the OERS website or if you have comments or topics or questions that you would like to bring to our attention. Thank you and keep your fins dry and warm…..

Mike Belanger