The Marine Animal Response Society is a charitable organization dedicated to marine mammal (whales, dolphins, porpoises, and seals) conservation in the Maritimes through response, research and education. The society, formerly known as the Nova Scotia Stranding Network, was established by a group of volunteers in 1990 to monitor and respond to strandings and incidental catches of marine mammals.


Our current focus is to instil a sense of marine environment stewardship in Maritimers by promoting a better understanding of the oceans and its inhabitants through response, research and education.

We achieve this through a number of MARS activities:

  1. We work in cooperation with industry, federal agencies, other non-governmental organizations and local communities to document all incidents of live and dead marine mammals in Nova Scotia.

  2. We aim to assist all live cetaceans in distress by deciding, based on careful assessment, the best course of action and to help the public understand decisions made regarding live cetaceans.

  3. We strive to determine the cause of death for as many incidents possible so we can better understand the level of threats marine mammals face in this region.

  4. We work in collaboration with other agencies in the Maritime Provinces to develop an effective response network to ensure a timely response to all incidents.

  5. We work to educate coastal communities and federal fisheries and conservation officers in how to recognize cetacean species that strand along their coasts and what they can do in the event of a live and dead stranding.

  6. We work with the general public, local schools and communities to inform them of the species in their waters and how their activities can impact them. We also highlight the fact that the waters off the Maritimes are one of the best locations in the world to see cetaceans and to stress the need to conserve the species here.

  7. We work with other non-governmental agencies to ensure the conservation of marine mammals is considered in regional planning initiatives.

  8. We support and conduct research into cetacean ecology and conservation in Eastern Canada, aiding and working alongside universities, government agencies and other research groups.