By Karen Anspacher-Meyer

Spirit Bear-Doug Neasloss.jpg

(Photo Credit: Douglas Neasloss)

Come bask in some Canadian ocean optimism! Tuesday night is the IMCC Marine Movies evening extravaganza. Delicious appetizers, cash bar, dessert and an unforgettable journey to the Great Bear Sea. Q&A with First Nations and British Columbia marine planners. 6pm at Rocket Bakery (upstairs), 272 Water St., downtown St. John’s. Free event.

  • Spirit bears, salmon, wolves, whales
  • One of the largest marine planning areas in the world
  • Successful partnership among First Nations, BC government and stakeholders
  • Collaborative research
  • Traditional knowledge
  • Watch the trailer:

My partner, Ralf Meyer, and I have worked for 25 years producing films that tell stories about sustainability and the conservation of natural resources, filming in remote places in North America and meeting people who I refer to as “the most amazing people in the worldbold leaders working for a more just and sustainable future. When we travelled to the Great Bear Sea to produce this film, we were captivated as we stepped into this incomparable place along the north Pacific coast of British Columbia and met the people who call this home.


(Photo Credit: Green Fire)

But The Great Bear Sea film isn’t my story about the people and the place. Elders and young First Nations leaders, the BC government and the people creating these marine plans are the storytellers here—sharing a window not only to the issues they are facing, but also the vision and solutions held in the plans.

Everything we eat, whether it’s inter-tidal, whether it’s bottom fish, whether it’s herring, whether it’s herring spawn, whether it’s salmon – everything comes out of that ocean. It’s a lifeline. It’s a lifeline for our people. – William Housty, Chair, Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department

The Great Bear Sea is a major intersection between rich culture, deep human history, industrial interest, and the natural world. For three years we have focused our cameras on the Great Bear Sea and always come away with the pivotal nature of the marine plans and the importance of seeing the plans implemented. I encourage you to see one of the most promising stories of our time.


(Photo Credit: Green Fire)

Following the film, First Nations leaders Russ Jones, Hereditary Chief, Haida Nation & Project Manager of the Haida Oceans Technical Team and Dallas Smith, President, Nanwakolas Council, plus Karen Topelko, Senior Marine Planner, BC Government and I will take your questions.

This free event will take place offsite, in the third floor community room of Rocket Bakery in downtown St. John’s – a five-minute walk from the Delta Conference Center. Appetizers (including vegan and gluten-free) and beverages will be served. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sandwiches, drinks, snacks and other items from the bakery will also be available for purchase in the dining area. If you hope to purchase dinner, we suggest you arrive early, before the event; kitchen may close before this event is over.

6pm Appetizers & cash bar

6:30 Film

7:30 Q+A

8:00 Dessert, coffee & cash bar social



Nevaeh The Narwhal is Stoked for IMCC


By Nevaeh the Narwhal


It’s the first full day of the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress. I’m so stoked! So is all of St. John’s. My friends at Destination St. John’s have even put up posters! We cant wait to hear all the stories of the ocean you’re going to tell us. We don’t get many coral reefs up this way, but we really like our fishing. The talks on all these important topics are going to be so great.

I just wanted to let you know that if you have any issues during the conference we’re very happy to give you the warmest of Newfoundland welcomes and help you out any way we can. Our contact details are here.

I’ll see you all at the opening ceremony, as will my fellow conference mascots Caleb the Cod and Skylar The Starfish. We’ll be hanging out in the conference hallway on the merchandise table.

Enjoy Canada. Enjoy Newfoundland. Enjoy St. John’s. Enjoy #IMCC4.




Merchandise costs

Nevaeh the Narwhal plush toy – $18 ($23 CAD)

Skylar the Starfish necklace – $28 USD ($36 CAD)

Caleb the Cod shot glass – $10 USD ($13 CAD)

Full merchandise details


10 Delegate Tips on How to Use Social Media at #IMCC4


By the participants of Workshop WS95


Hello Delegates!

We’re currently in a workshop where we are learning how to make the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress (#IMCC4) the most social media friendly conference possible. Here is our ten-point plan for you. You SHOULD be using it!

  1. Go where the conversation is already. Join it. Don’t try to make a new one from scratch.
  2. Retweet your colleagues’ work, don’t just favorite it. It helps spread the science message further.
  3. Contact a presenter on Twitter whose presentation you loved. They won’t mind at all!
  4. Think about your audience when choosing which social media platform to use.
  5. Choose appropriate language.
  6. Storify is easier to do if you do it right away.
  7. You can talk about real things in 140 characters. Be concise!
  8. Use social media, because mainstream media picks up stories from it. You can drive the story!
  9. What you put on social media can be read forever. Don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t want ANYONE to know.
  10. The half-life of a tweet is seconds. Tweet often, tweet more often, and tweet like your life depends on it. That’s what makes IMCC4 MASSIVE!

Crowdsourcing better data on small-scale fisheries


By Kendra Karr

Many of the world’s fish are caught in small-scale fisheries that lack data about the health of fish populations, giving managers very limited information to base management decisions on. In turn, most of these fisheries appear to be under-performing with respect to conservation, the amount of food they can produce, the amount of money they can generate, and the quality of the livelihoods they can support. There is a perception that these fisheries cannot be assessed without large amounts of data. Because of this perception, many fisheries remain unassessed, ineffectively managed or not managed at all leading to under performance or even collapse.


(Photo credit: Jason Houston)

Fortunately, there are alternatives: fishermen and women, community members, managers and scientists are collaborating to bridge the data gap for these important fishing communities; increasing knowledge and resources for effective fishery assessment and management. While these collaborations have started to fill in the gaps, we still need input from fishery managers and practitioners for a complete picture of the data.

In collaboration with small-scale fisheries around the world, we are beginning to collect information on the pathway and tools employed in actions of science-based fishery co-management in small-scale, data-limited contexts.

Context and goals:

Finding ways to evaluate small-scale fisheries means gaining a deeper insight into the pathways and tools used to transition fisheries to more science based solutions. These solutions allow fisheries to meet environmental, social and economic goals. Successful fisheries around the world have shown that establishing secure fishing rights with science-based catch limits not only empowers fishermen to become stewards of the resource, but can also support a pathway to long-term sustainability. Both the pathways and tools employed to reform fisheries vary, but there are a growing number of examples that use a form of co-management along with science-based fishery management.

Case studies help identify the many ways stakeholders address the challenges their fisheries are facing and help develop science-based solutions for sustainable fishing.

Upcoming panel at IMCC:

At this year’s International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador – in collaboration with five fisheries – we will hear the stories from those involved in transitioning a small-scale, data-limited fishery into a science-based managed fishery. Attendees are encouraged to participate in the symposium – Integrated science and management solutions for data-limited and low governance fisheries – and contribute to the associated panel discussion.

Small-scale fisheries are reforming during a fortunate period, as there are tools designed to empower on the ground partners to address the challenges these fisheries are facing. These tools can be used to develop sustainable solutions that support more fish in the water, more food on the plate and more prosperous communities.

Let’s hear your story, so together we can bridge the gap in knowledge and understanding of the critical resources.

How you can participate:

  • Contribute to our survey: Fishery Assessment and Management Pathway.
  • Attend our symposium and panel discussion on data limited assessment and co-management of fisheries at this year’s International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) on August 1st 8:30-11:30 in Salon F.

Kendra Carr is a Scientist with the Fishery Solutions Center of the Environmental Defense Fund and conducts cutting edge research that drives innovation in fishery assessment and management. Her research focuses on data-limited stock assessment, fishery management and science-based networks of marine protected areas. 


Focus Group Invite: Fishing the Small: Making Sure There Is Enough Food For All


By Aurelie Cosandey-Godin, WWF-Canada Oceans

Hello IMCC4 Delegates!

We’d like to encourage everyone to come out to World Wildlife Fund-Canada’s focus group Fishing the Small: Making Sure There Is Enough Food For All. Forage species — small, abundant fish — play a key role in marine ecosystems. But worldwide, management of forage fish fisheries have focused on maintaining targeted populations without addressing their ecological role.

Humpback whales, British Columbia, Canada

Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) feeding in the coastal waters near Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada.

This session will include a presentation on WWF-Canada’s Forage Fish campaign, but it is primarily a participatory session with a facilitator, using the World Cafe method. A graphic facilitator, Marguerite Drescher, will be on hand to capture key points visually. A report, Food for All, about the state of the Canadian forage fish fisheries, will be available at the session.

There are two sessions on Tuesday August 2, so you can choose the one most relevant to your interests.

Session 1: 8:30-10:30am: What conditions are required to advance ecosystem-based fisheries management of forage species in Canada?

Session 2: 11am-1pm: What  information and tools are required to insure that foraging needs of dependent predators are considered in decision-making?

Both will be held in Salon F of the Delta Conference Centre. See you there!

How Plastic Pink Flamingos and Silly Sunglasses Can Help You Save the Oceans



IMCC4 session:

Using marketing to tackle the challenge of behaviour change

Sunday, July 31, 2016; 11:00 – 13:00

By Sara Isaac — SalterMitchell, Marketing for Change

So you’re a scientist. An expert in your field. You’ve got a darn good idea of 20 to 30 things that could be done right now to advance marine conservation. There’s just one small problem: most other people in the world are not scientists. And most other people do not care about marine conservation enough (if at all) to change their behavior to make a difference.

So what are you going to do? You could get depressed or angry (arguably the most rational responses).You could try to explain your data points in the simplest of terms in the hopes that logic will persuade people to act (though Fogo Island’s Museum of the Flat Earth should give you pause). You could simply resolve to keep doing the science you love and ignore the fact that all major threats to the marine environment are driven by human behavior.

Or you could get some help from plastic pink flamingos and silly sunglasses.

Come learn how behavior change marketing can help you harness the drivers of human behavior to achieve your conservation goals during our IMCC4 session on Sunday, July 31, 2016, starting at 11:00 a.m.


You’ll hear how a radio telenovela (soap opera) helped promote responsible fishing practices in Belize. You’ll learn how the Be Floridian marketing campaign — with Felix, the pink plastic flamingo, as a tongue-in-cheek mascot of local culture — asked Florida residents to “protect fun” and helped prompt a drop in residential fertilizer use and a resurgence of seagrass in Tampa Bay. You’ll also learn key questions to ask to create and test marketing messages, and you’ll get a healthy dose of scientific skepticism about biological outcomes from behavior change marketing campaigns, including lessons learned from Rare’s experience in seeking a practical, ethical and effective approach to meaningful impact evaluation.

Of all the mysteries that scientists decipher on a daily basis, understanding human behavior may be the most important for advancing marine conservation. Come learn how you can leverage behavioral determinants to translate marine science into action.


When We Went Down To The Beach Today- The IMCC4 Beach Clean.


By Keni Rienks


(Picture: The IMCC4 and Marine Institute Beach Cleaners)

“Making Marine Science Matter.” What does that congress theme mean to you? For the IMCC4 Organizing Committee that represents a vast arena of things, and that is why we have over a week of workshops, symposiums, plenary speakers, and other facets to communicate with each other about our areas of expertise, our passions, and what works.  It is also an important goal of this congress to give back to our community through different outreach events, the first of which occurred this morning.


(Picture: Middle Cove Beach)

Communications Co-Chair Keni Rienks aided in the organization of a group of delegates to clean up one of the area’s most beautiful and popular destinations, Middle Cove Beach. Five delegates were in attendance with a global representation: North Carolina (USA), Winnepeg (Canada) by way of India, Cape Town (South Africa), and two Memorial University affiliates. This was made possible by the collaboration with the Marine Institute of Memorial University’s Ocean Net program. Coordinator Tiffany Martin provided us supplies, guidance, education, and a local’s perspective of this gorgeous area. She ID’d several species of [dead] fish, and educated us on capelin rolling. Though we didn’t get to witness it in action, we sure smelled the aftermath of the several hundred unfortunate ones that couldn’t quite beat out the last falling tide.


(Picture: The local fauna)

This extremely unique beach was composed mostly of perfectly smooth, round rocks and pebbles, and sounded like putting milk onto Rice Krispies when the waves came in.  We even had several whale sightings! Overall we hauled out at least 10 bags of trash, and we had a perfect first day to kick-off IMCC 2016!


(Picture: An interesting find)

Keni Rienks is the IMCC4 Communications Co-Chair. This is her first IMCC and she is loving it so far!