HOW WE'RE MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Deep respect for nature and ethical business practices are core values at Ocean Outfitters. We pay equal attention to our internal operations as we do to our responsibility to make a positive impact on the external environment. While striving to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency, we also aim to inspire and implement solutions to environmental challenges.
Wildlife is more than a natural resource; it's a way to educate our guests through ethical viewing practices about the interconnection of natural systems, the rich biodiversity of Clayoquot Sound, and the threats facing wildlife, habitat, and indigenous culture in this globally recognized UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Our self-determined mandate demands that we go beyond education. That's why we are committed to supporting local projects and programs that effect real and measurable change in the environment around us. Preserving the integrity and biodiversity of natural areas is of paramount importance not only to the viability of Ocean Outfitters but also the overall health and sustainability of Tofino's tourism-based economy. We are actively involved in efforts to ensure the welfare of local wolves, bears, and cougars, and the wild salmon that are the foundation of Clayoquot Sound's temperate rainforest ecosystem.
In turn, our guests have the satisfaction of knowing that the majority of our trip fees go directly toward projects intended to improve the welfare of wildlife, efforts to change legislative policy, education, research, conservation, and carbon action.
TRANQUIL WATERSHED RESTORATION INITIATIVE
Ocean Outfitters has committed $200,000/year for multiple years, aimed at restoring the Tranquil Watershed. We want a holistic approach that conserves and restores wild salmon habitat, revitalizes stocks, and creates training, employment, and stewardship opportunities for local First Nations. These generous annual donations aim to provide at least four Tlaoquiaht jobs, and support measurable Tranquil Watershed Restoration Initiative objectives.
Cedar Coast Field Station Initiatives
Ocean Outfitters is super proud to be supporting local salmon research projects and the Coastal Connections Education program for Ahousaht through Cedar Coast Field Station. We have committed $42,700 in 2019 to research projects directly related to wild salmon health, and an Indigenous youth science program.
TRIBAL PARK ALLIES
Ocean Outfitters recognizes the inherent and constitutional right of the Tla-o-qui-aht people to manage and monitor the haḥuułi. First Nations in Canada have the right to self-government within their traditional territories as affirmed in Section 35 of the 1982 Constitution Act. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Canada is party, reaffirms this right and furthermore acknowledges the fundamentally important role Indigenous peoples play in environmental stewardship and protection. We share the same commitment to seek ways to deepen our relationship. We share a common vision for socially, economically, and ecologically just communities.
Ocean Outfitters has been a carbon neutral company since offsetting our first footprint in 2015.
This means each year we: measure our greenhouse gas emissions to understand our impact; work to reduce the emissions as much as possible; and that we offset our annual emissions by contributing to projects that prevent the equivalent amount of emissions.
We chose to offset our footprint with Offsetters, Canada’s leading carbon management company. Offsetters’ offset projects are verified and validated by third parties to ensure that the emission reductions are real, additional and permanent. By supporting their projects, we prevent the equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emissions that we emitted—neutralizing our climate impact.
Wild Salmon Initiative
Ocean Outfitters cares deeply about wild salmon and their natural habitat. The five species of salmon native to the Pacific Northwest form the foundation of coastal ecosystems, indigenous culture and ecotourism. Which is why we started the Three Percent For The Fish initiative. We implement a 3% surcharge to all fishing charters (both fresh and saltwater) to support local enhancement projects throughout Clayoquot Sound and Vancouver Island. This initiative ensures that clients have hands on participation in the viability of the resource for generations to come. While British Columbia's wild salmon are a globally recognized natural treasure, these stocks are under increasing pressure and in many places at risk of extinction. 100% of proceeds from this initiative will go towards protecting these salmon.
Tofino's proximity to raw nature and beauty forms the foundation of its appeal to visitors from around the world. It's incumbent on us as tourism and community leaders to learn to live with wildlife. However, too often wildlife conflict arises from development encroaching on, or destroying wildlife corridors and foraging areas, poor waste management, and attractants such as untidy campgrounds and dogs. Ocean Outfitters is strongly opposed to the destruction of wolves, cougars, or bears in our region due to human-caused conflicts and impacts. We are working alongside experts to create a Wildlife-Human Hazard Assessment and Management Plan for the District of Tofino.
Ocean Outfitters supports the Raincoast Education Society’s efforts to help shape an environmentally sustainable future for the Clayoquot and Barkley Sound region through education and community stewardship. Our donations enable citizens to participate knowledgeably, effectively and responsibly in the work of shaping this future for our region and for our planet. The Raincoast Education Society delivers a broad range of high-quality educational and interpretive programs, such as guided walks, seminar series, summer camps, school programs, and events focused on the natural environment, cultures, and communities of the Clayoquot Sound region.
Get Wild Sponsor
Tofino is world-renowned as a top foodie destination, thanks to a concoction of culinary talents and the availability of high quality, regionally accessible ingredients. Ocean Outfitters is proud to sponsor the GET WILD seafood brand that let’s customers know with confidence that the salmon they are about to enjoy is wild-caught, and not raised in a polluting open net pen salmon feed lot. Local restaurants are registering as members, and taking the pledging to only sell wild caught salmon. The GET WILD brand is backed up and made credible by DNA testing. The goal of this program is to increase public awareness and consumer knowledge of farmed vs. wild caught salmon, to support and build our local wild salmon economy, and to celebrate participating restaurants commitment to conscious food sourcing. GET WILD is a project executed by Clayoquot Action.
For the past few years we have been awarded the highest certification for green businesses on Vancouver Island — the Vancouver Island Green Business Certification. This certification was built to recognize the efforts of local businesses that are reducing their environmental impact. Also, in 2017 we received the Ecostar Climate Action Award for our outstanding environmental achievements and leadership as a businesses; and in 2018 we received the Ecostar Ecological Stewardship Award for our conservation efforts.
The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District is currently undergoing a study to determine how to spend $6M of tax funding to implement regional level organic waste diversion and a methane recapture program. Simultaneously, a Tofino community of entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations have been working on community-level composting initiatives. Ocean Outfitters has asked Synergy to represent and advocate on behalf of a broad base of community stakeholders, to local and regional governments, to ensure they are represented and recognized in the new strategy.
Tidepool Guardian Program
The Strawberry Island Marine Research Society (SIMRS) Tofino Tidepool Guardian Program is an outdoor experiential education and citizen science project that engages youth and volunteers in sea star monitoring in coastal inter-tidal ecosystems along our local coastline. We are happy to contribute funding for this local project developed by SIMRS in response to the drastic decline of multiple sea star species on the west coast of North America. Sea Stars are an iconic species, a top predator, and are ecologically important to intertidal ecosystems.