The Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) will organize the first edition of the Grand Blue fundraiser on March 16, 2015 at the Biodôme in Montréal. Those taking part in this benefit will be able to make their contributions in support of MICS, which has been working for over 36 years on the research and conservation of St. Lawrence whales, and the blue whale in particular. On the evening agenda: presentation of MICS’ work, local product tastings, music performances, silent auction and special guests. Funds raised during the Great Blue benefit will be used to finance the continuation of long-term research projects as well as education programs.
Based in Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan in the Côte-Nord region and founded in 1979 by Richard Sears, MICS is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study of marine mammal ecology. Today the organization’s work area extends beyond the St. Lawrence, notably in the Sea of Cortez in Baja California, in the waters of Iceland and in the Azores.
For over thirty years, the team has been documenting the history of a little known and endangered giant: the blue whale (Balaeanoptera musculus). Notably, the team has fine-tuned a method to identify individuals based on the pigmentation pattern of their skin. To date, the St. Lawrence blue whale catalogue numbers 475 individuals.
Richard Sears and his team are soliciting public support “in order to keep the story of the blue whale alive”. At the dawn of a 37th season, the organization faces a multitude of challenges, notably rising operation costs coupled with cuts being made to the research funds granted by governmental agencies.