Our efforts to make IMCC4 a harassment discrimination, and bullying-free meeting

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By Edward Hind

Last week, in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, several of the organisers of the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress published an opinion paper titled, ‘Your Science Conference Should Have a Code of Conduct’.

The motivation behind the publication is some of the unwanted headlines we have seen over the past few years – headlines that should be constrained to the past. Sexual harassment should not be accepted in any form at science meetings. Discrimination by gender, age, race, sexual orientation or any other factor is not at all welcome at coffee breaks or elsewhere at the congress. Bullying is an activity carried out by individuals that do not fit the profile of Society for Conservation Biology member.

We know that our views will be shared by you, and have been voiced by you on many occasions. We are glad to have such fantastic delegates and such a progressive membership. We just wanted to formalise our position, and we hope the paper and the associated code of conduct do this.

The paper is published on an open access platform that encourages post publication review, the same one that will host the IMCC Proceedings. So, please do take time to read it (it’s nice and short!) and please do comment on it if you want to – like this blog, the Frontiers platform allows below-the-line commenting. Please also take time to read our Code of Conduct before you attend IMCC4. We appreciate you efforts in helping us make IMCC4 a safe space for all.

– Edward Hind is a Visiting Research Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is a the IMCC4 Communications Chair and congress Deputy Chair. He is a co-author of the paper mentioned in this blog.

 

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Whale Watching at IMCC4

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By Michael Gatherall

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(Photo: Terry Howard – Creative Commons License)

You know it’s a special place when families put down roots that remain for over hundreds of years. There is something particular about this place and its people much of which has to do with its enduring sea faring heritage.

The Gatherall Family has always been of the sea. For generations our ancestors fished the coastal waters to harvest its sometime abundant and occasionally scarce resources. Times changed and our family changed along with them but we still hold fast to our marine heritage.  We no longer harvest the bounty of the sea but instead now invite guests from the world over to share in our love of the ocean and invite them to learn of its many wonderful inhabitants.

We’re looking forward to your visit as well.  We know that many delegates have an incredible depth of knowledge of all things marine that we cannot wait to learn from you and in turn share your knowledge with our other guests for years to come. We all stand to benefit from sharing our understanding of the marine environment and of course through greater understanding we can all hope and strive to become better stewards of the environment.

For over 30 years the Gatherall Family has introduced travelers to the wonders of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. We are privileged to have this natural wonder practically in our front yard.  Once you journey to this special place you’re sure to gain an appreciation for the hold it has on our people. We’re especially delighted that IMCC4 will be held during what is arguably the best time to visit the Reserve. Late July / early August is the peak of the season for whale visitation and is the height of the season for activity in the seabird colony. With over 2.5 million seabirds nesting on the islands and one of the largest annual congregations of humpback whales known to occur in the North Atlantic, it is simply an amazing natural spectacle. This is truly an experience not to be missed.

The Gatherall Family & Crew look forward to the opportunity to host delegates attending IMCC4 in 2016. Up to five daily tour departures are available for general boarding plus a number of sailing especially for IMCC4 participants. We’re so delighted to have you visit that we have extended the special IMCC4 rates to accompanying persons throughout the conference period.

All tours will be conducted on our safe, comfortable and efficient catamaran to ensure you have a great experience. Our friendly, knowledgeable, local guides will be more than happy to answer your questions and to provide you with an educational interpretative program all while having a bit of fun too (we are Newfoundlanders of course)!

We encourage you to book early as it is peak season and we don’t want you to miss out.  Transportation is available for individuals & groups alike and we encourage you to contact at any time should you have any questions or need any other information.

 

Michael Gatherall is one of the founders of Gatherall’s and manages the operation office when not accompanying tours.

 

A local’s guide to IMCC4: Discover Newfoundland

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By Rodolphe Devillers

Attending IMCC4? Consider spending a few days visiting the region! Here are some tips!

Isn’t it a shame to travel all the way to an international conference and stay the whole time a few hundred meters from your conference hotel? Newfoundland is a unique place, including for marine conservation, and I would strongly recommend taking a few days to visit the island. But first things first, you NEED a rental car and rentals are extremely hard to secure so don’t procrastinate and book your car now! I provide time estimates to the different locations from downtown St. John’s (thanks to Google Maps!).

1-2 days visits?

The coast of the Avalon Peninsula (where St. John’s is located) has been selected by the National Geographic as THE top coastal destination in the world for its authenticity and sustainability. Here are a few highlights:

  • Close to St. John’s, you need to visit Cape Spear (20 mins drive). With its iconic lighthouse, Cape Spear is the eastern-most point of North America, and is also a nice place for a walk – and to watch whales from the coast.

CapeSpear(Photo: Tourism Newfoundland©) – Cape Spear

  • If you keep driving south, consider stopping at the Petty Harbour mini-aquarium (25 mins), a catch and release aquarium involved in local marine conservation efforts. It is very small and obviously can’t be compared to large city aquariums, but it is a great example of a local ocean literacy project!
  • South again you will reach Bay Bulls and Mobile (30 mins from St. John’s), two communities hosting a number of really excellent whale watching tour companies. Those tours will also bring you to the largest puffins colonies in North America: the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve. You can also see a lot of other bird species there, including storm-petrels, gannets, kittiwakes and murres.
  • Looking for a longer trip? Keep driving south and stop at Ferryland (1h) to visit the archaeological site of the Colony of Avalon, a 17th century permanent European settlement.
  • Further south (and it is really worth the trip!), consider driving to Portugal Cove South (1h 45mins) to see the unique geological site of Mistaken Point, a site with the most diverse and well-preserved Precambrian fossils known in the world! The site, currently considered for listing as a World Heritage site, is threaten by coastal erosion – so now is the time to visit it! You will need a tour guide (mandatory, but free). It is best to call them in advance to book a tour. You may even get lucky and see caribous on the way!
  • Not in the same area but still on the Avalon Peninsula, the Cape Saint Mary’s Ecological Reserve (2.5h) is one of the largest seabird reserves in Newfoundland, with over 24,000 northern gannets, 20,000 common murres, etc. An amazing site!

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(Photo: Tourism Newfoundland©) – Gros Morne National Park

2-3 days visits?

Planning a few more days? You can visit the Bonavista Peninsula, with the towns of Trinity (3h) and Bonavista, for its beautiful coast and traditional communities. The Skerwink Trail next to Trinity is one of the nicest trails on the island. Just north of it is Terra Nova, one of the two National Parks on the island of Newfoundland. A bit further, consider Twillingate (5h) and/or Fogo Island (need to take a ferry), a place increasingly appearing on tourists’ lists for its beauty and culture. Note that you will have reached one of the four corners of the earth according to the Flat Earth Society!
Over a week?

GrosMorne

(Photo: Tourism Newfoundland©) – Gros Morne National Park

If you are staying for longer, cross the island on the Trans-Canada Highway and spend a few days in the Gros Morne National Park (7-8h), on the west coast. The park is one of the few places on Earth where you can walk on the Earth’s mantle (brought to the surface by tectonic forces). But the park has many more wonders to discover! And if you are really REALLY motivated, then drive all the way north to the National Historic Site of l’Anse aux Meadows (11-12h) to visit the only known Viking settlement in North America!

 

Dr. Rodolphe Devillers is on faculty in the Department of Geography at Memorial University.  He is a member of the Scientific Program Committee for IMCC4.