VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s another victim of a tight economy; a world-leading facility in ocean research is closing its doors this Friday.

After 12 years of operation, the Vancouver Aquarium‘s ocean tracking program lacks $1.5 million in funding to keep going.

Jim Bulger is the executive director of the Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking Program (POST). It serves to monitor what’s happening in the ocean, from migrating animals to how the eco-system works. It was helping lead the world in providing data for research.

“With POST kind of folding up the tent, it’s kind of an unfortunate message to those other places in the world that these kinds of systems aren’t valuable in the country, where a lot of the work was pioneered. That’s a loss,” says Bulger.

He explains the program uses a series of hundreds of acoustic receivers from California to Alaska to track over 16-thousand animals.  “It has illuminated this kind of ‘black box’ of the ocean. We’re starting to get a better understanding of… these species, how they live and where they live.”

“That wonderment of the ocean that a lot of people have… we’re not losing the tool entirely, but the power of that tool is being diminished to a certain extent. I think that’s unfortunate because there’s still a lot of wonder to be discovered in the ocean,” says Bulger.

People will still track what’s happening in the oceans but Bulger thinks it will lack the coordination of having POST’s central hub.

He adds there are tentative arrangements with smaller regional groups, but it loses the ability to have monitoring from California all the way to Alaska.