In January, we launched Ocean Bridge, a national education initiative that engages a diverse group of youth to help guide our country’s national dialogue about ocean conservation. Urban, rural, indigenous, northern and southern Canadian youth work together virtually and in real time to address issues such as climate change, overfishing and plastic pollution. The team collaborates to generate ideas for collective impact, and puts those plans into action to create a meaningful legacy across the country. Learn more.
Supported by the Government of Canada.
Photo: Monica Phung
Ocean Wise research has discovered plastic pollution threatening our oceans from pole to pole. In March, we kicked off our #BePlasticWise campaign to reduce single-use plastics. The campaign built collective action by inviting “ocean champions” to sign the pledge and take on monthly lifestyle challenges over the year to reduce their single-use plastic consumption. Every week, Ocean Wise supported consumer actions with Ocean Wise tips, ocean stories and videos for living a more ocean-friendly life. Learn more.
Supported by Environment and Climate Change Canada, MEC, and the Port of Vancouver
In 2018, Ocean Wise was named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers. This award recognizes employers committed to creating a culture of environmental awareness in their organization and, as a result, have developed exceptional earth-friendly initiatives becoming leaders in sustainable practices. In addition to celebrating ten years of being ISO14001 certified, the Ocean Wise team continued to strive for excellence, reducing the amount of waste going to landfill by 14% over the previous year as well as reducing the electricity use by 15% and natural gas use by 20% over the baseline year in 2009.
Vortex – the full-scale artistic imagining of the Pacific Trash Vortex by Douglas Coupland – opened May 18 at the Vancouver Aquarium. The exhibit is an exploration of the escalating global ocean plastic pollution crisis and the evolving human relationship with this ubiquitous material in an emotive, provocative, and inspirational way. It features a 50,000-litre water installation with a battered day-fishing boat from Japan adrift in a dense gyre of waves, mist, and marine debris collected from British Columbia shorelines.
Supported by Layfield Group, the Lagniappe Foundation, Eric Savics and Kim Spencer-Nairn, the Armstrong Family Foundation, Charles and Dale Young, and Niels and Nancy Bendtsen.
The world watched for weeks last summer as responders from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), First Nations and conservation groups — including Ocean Wise — attempted to help J50, an emaciated young killer whale struggling to keep up with her family in the Salish Sea. Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at Vancouver Aquarium, conducted the initial veterinary assessment of J50 and administered two doses of antibiotics to her via remote injection. Ocean Wise will continue to assist in recovery efforts for the entire population of Southern Resident killer whales. Learn about our Marine Mammal Research Program.
Photo: Katy Foster/NOAA Fisheries, permit #18786
Launched in 2005, the Ocean Wise Seafood program continues to grow, and to lessen the devastating impacts of overfishing. With the Ocean Wise symbol, we help diners and shoppers easily choose sustainable seafood, and it’s our goal to expand the program in Canadian and international markets. Last year, we brought Sobey’s Quebec on board as an Ocean Wise partner, growing the number of Ocean Wise locations in that province from 45 to over 500. The total number of partners in the program is 750, with 3,000 locations.
A comprehensive Ocean Watch report released in November by the Coastal Ocean Research Institute at Ocean Wise® details critical threats to coastal ecosystems and provides a baseline against which future trends can be evaluated. Among its findings: sea levels in B.C. may be rising faster and higher than initially predicted; underwater noise has been doubling in intensity every decade since the 1950s; marine species continue to face threats from persistent organic pollutants; microplastics are finding their way into marine ecosystems; and a mysterious condition continues to ravage sea star species along North America’s west coast. See the full report.
Photo: Jenn Burt
Ocean Wise launched the WhaleReport Alert System (WRAS) in December. It alerts bridge crew and pilots of large commercial vessels to whales in their vicinity. Pilots and crew can then slow down or alter course to reduce the risk of their vessel disturbing or striking a whale, and the underwater noise from their engines. Learn more.
Supported by the Prince Rupert Port Authority, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program, and the Government of Canada.
After 25 years of groundbreaking work at the helm of the Vancouver Aquarium® and of Ocean Wise®, its overarching, global ocean conservation organization, Dr. John Nightingale retired at the end of 2018. Nightingale stepped into the leadership role at Vancouver Aquarium in 1993 and over the years he was celebrated as a visionary for his innovations in aquarium management, ocean conservation and education, and environmental stewardship.