Nature Canada

Defending the Deep at IMPAC5: Your Ocean Highlights

Thousands of delegates gathered in Vancouver to advance ocean protection from February 3rd to 9th for IMPAC5 (the fifth International Marine Protected Areas Conference).

The Ocean Festival at IMPAC5 was designed to educate Canadians and encourage passersby to consider the state of marine protection and the importance of making progress to halt and reverse the loss of marine species. There was a drag queen, a giant octopus, and more!

Things are looking good for protecting 30 percent of oceans by 2030. With 125 countries in attendance and plenty of goals met, the conference was a huge success!

Here are highlights from the conference:

Ocean Victory! New Marine Protected Area Tang.ɢwan-ḥačxʷiqak-Tsig̱is was announced.

Image: Carol Linnitt / The Narwhal

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, Haida, Pacheedaht, and Quatsino Nations with Fisheries and Oceans Minister, Joyce Murray, announced a Memorandum of Understanding to co-manage a proposed new Marine Protected Area (MPA) to be known as Tang.ɢwan-ḥačxʷiqak-Tsig̱is. This area, previously known to ocean conservationists as the Pacific Deep Sea Oasis, is of great ecological importance and has been the focus of Indigenous-led efforts towards protection for years. In fact, Nature Canada has been campaigning for protection in this area for years! Learn more here.

Frida Whales engaged kids at the Ocean Festival.

Through storytelling, participants were invited to discover the diversity of marine life that live in the oceans and their importance to human and planetary health and wellbeing. With more than a million species on the cusp of extinction, these future generations may not have the opportunity to appreciate marine wildlife if our governments don’t act to protect them today.

The giant octopus made waves for marine species protection.

A massive octopus sculpture caught in a fishing net sat at the entrance to the festival, a display that provoked questions about the damage that commercial fishing practices inflict on marine life. Members of the public were encouraged to write their hopes and dreams for ocean protection on bands that were tied to the trapped animal, and to illustrate the impact that human activity has on aquatic species.

We marched to stop deep sea mining.

Young Professionals at IMPAC5 lead a protest against Deep Sea Mining and Nature Canada was there! Deep sea mining has a devastating impact on marine life and Nature Canada has been calling for a moratorium on the practice in our waters. The Canadian Government has no regulatory framework governing deep sea mining prior to IMPAC5, and at the conclusion of the gathering the Ministry of Natural Resources confirmed no deep sea mining would be permitted in Canadian waters. As one of the hosts of IMPAC5 the Young Professionals elevated the issue of deep sea mining and directly contributed to the prohibition announced by the federal government.

IMPAC5 encouraged and amplified youth voices throughout the congress, with the goal of inspiring future environmental leaders and incorporating new ideas and processes into the global conservation movement.

Nature Canada’s NatureHood program was featured in a panel focused on Youth Engaging Youth in the Conservation Sector. NatureHood connects kids, families, newcomers, and marginalized communities to nearby nature. Issues examined in the panel included strategies on effectively engaging youth, suggestions on how to bridge gaps between urban and rural youth, and a discussion on the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Canadian environmental sector.

Not to mention…

  • The Great Bear Sea network announced an action plan to protect the North coast of BC through a series of interconnected Marine Protected Areas. Learn more here.
    Policy mechanism for minimum protection standards implementation
  • Creating a National Marine Conservation Areas policy framework
  • Canada to become the first country to protect all seamounts within its waters
  • High level declaration by Canada and others to finalize and ratify the High Seas Treaty

Thanks to all who raised their voices in support of nature!

You can help us continue defending the ocean and reach our goal of protecting 30 percent of the ocean by 2030. Send a letter to Oceans Minister, Joyce Murray, to say you want to see the ocean protected for future generations!


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