Maui Coronavirus Updates

Pandemic Prompts Layoffs, Pay Cuts at Pacific Whale Foundation

March 22, 2020, 9:19 PM HST
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A Pacific Humpback Whale breaches off the coast of Maui. PC: Pacific Whale Foundation.

Here is an update on operations at the Pacific Whale Foundation amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We hope this message finds you and your loved ones well during this uncertain time. Our extended Pacific Whale Foundation family wishes to extend our best wishes to everyone during this unprecedented pandemic.

As a follow up to our previous announcements regarding our COVID 19 response, we wanted to share an update with our community. As with our fellow nonprofit organizations that are seeking ways to protect our mission work during this time of uncertainty, we have had to make some very tough decisions.

In addition to suspending all social enterprise operations, which comprise of PacWhale Eco-Adventure cruises and brick and mortar Oceans Stores, the majority of our staff are being furloughed as we get through this disaster. Our core leadership team has taken significant pay cuts and are meeting regularly to ensure the survival of programs and services that allow our mission work to continue. These plans are changing each day as we navigate the emergency together, and we thank you for the unwavering support that we have received this week through your posts, emails and phone calls.

To this end, we are currently curating a collection of virtual whalewatches, webcasts and other programs for online engagement, which has been in large demand by our invaluable supporters. Please know that, if you see one of our PacWhale Eco-Adventures vessels out on the water next week, it is not running commercial operations; we are creating this free, online content to help sustain learning, inspiration and respect of our ocean life for the thousands of guests that we might otherwise engage in person.

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We will also be launching a campaign to support virtual Research, Education and Conservation programs and will offer our unique Ocean Store products via our online shop. Each and every dollar raised will go to the efforts of supporting this work.

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In our 40 years of operation, we have yet to meet a challenge that we can’t overcome when we work together as a committed and caring community. For the whales and for the ocean, we will continue to push forward in our efforts. We wish to extend our love and appreciation to all those being affected by this pandemic be it physically, emotionally or financially.”

Kelly McHugh-White 
Marketing and Development Director  

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