04/16/2015 08:35 EDT | Updated 06/28/2015 06:59 EDT

Vancouver oil spill: Vancouver Aquarium gathering oil samples from ocean floor

Scientists from the Vancouver Aquarium are currently analyzing oil, water, sediment and shellfish samples from the shoreline to determine the recent impact of an oil spill from the bunker of a grain ship near English Bay. 

"It is critical to obtain results from these preliminary analyses as quickly as possible," said Dr. Peter Ross, director of the aquarium's Ocean Pollution Research Program in a statement.

"Results will be used to fingerprint the source of the spill, the spread of this fuel throughout coastal waters, and immediate risks to sea life."

According to the Aquarium, its analysis is taking place independently, alongside the work being completed by government agencies.

The aquarium's CEO, Dr. John Nightingale, said it's difficult to separate the impact of the spill against the cumulative effort of other activities like industry, agriculture and waste water on the coastal environment.

"If the goal of cleanup efforts is to return our harbour to the state it was in before the leak, we can't because we don't have good baseline information," said Nightingale in a statement. 

The aquarium's recently launched its PollutionWatch Project, which will work with First Nations and community organizations to monitor the ongoing impact of pollution on B.C.'s coast.