Let’s make the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress the meeting you want it to be!


Dear future delegates,

Welcome back to the official blog of the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC). Over the next year, we’ll be using this outlet to share everything from logistical information for attending the fifth iteration of the congress, to research on issues that will be in focus at the meeting, to how you can get a traditional Bornean tattoo as part of your attendance experience!

As your extremely honored Congress Chair, I’m more than excited to be part of the Organizing Committee for the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC5) that will be welcoming you to the wonderful city of Kuching, Malaysia in June 2018. We have a huge responsibility to make the meeting every bit as productive for you as the first four IMCCs. That’s something we’re all working very hard on and that you’ll undoubtedly hear more about on this blog over the coming months.


The IMCC5 Congress Chair moderating IMCC4 plenary questions (Image: Keni Rienks)

We’re also entering new era where it is expected that scientific conferences focus on making an impact beyond the walls of a convention center. That is a challenge we want, and intend, to rise to. In addition to working on initiatives to increase the range of delegates attending IMCC5 , we’ve appointed our first ever IMCC Impact Chair. They will be working on making sure the congress has a local impact above the money you spend on hotels, food, and drink. You will here more about our impact work on this blog in the very near future.

And, don’t worry. Our new initiatives will not come at the expense of what you already like about IMCCs. Plenary speakers selection is well under way, our scientific program will be as diverse and as extensive as ever, and creating a safe, welcoming, and friendly conference space is our top priority. They’ll probably also be karaoke…

But, as I said, we are not here to build the conference that we want. Please do contact us with your ideas on how to maintain and improve the quality of IMCC. We can be reached on email and over Twitter. You can follow all congress developments on our congress hasthtag (#IMCC5) and by subscribing to this blog.

With the warmest regards,

Edward Hind-Ozan.



Edward Hind-Ozan is the Congress Chair for the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress. He was Deputy Chair of IMCC4 and is also the Vice President of the Society for Conservation Biology Marine Section. Currently, he works as a Research Associate in marine social science at Cardiff University in the UK. His daughter accompanied him on an IMCC5 planning trip to Kuching when she was 3 months old. She loved it!


Telepresence/Telerobotics Initiative for IMCC5 in Borneo, Malaysia.


To increase accessibility for the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC5) held in Malaysia in 2018 and in response to recent restrictions on the ability for members of the global research and conservation community to travel based on religion, orientation, or place of birth, the IMCC5 Organizing Committee is creating a directive to establish enhanced telepresence and telerobotics capabilities for the conference. This new initiative will include a telepresence-only participation tier (at reduced rate to cover the cost of service) with access to livestreams of all talks, ability to present remotely, and access to mobile telerobots to facilitate participation in post-presentation discussion at social events. Telepresence options will be open to all SCB Marine members, but priority will be assigned to those who ability to travel is restricted for political reasons as well as students with demonstrated financial need.

More details will be provided as we work with telerobotics companies and internet service providers to prepare the necessary infrastructure for this initiative.

Employing science to safeguard marine life with GLORES


By Sarah Hameed

Scientists from academic institutions, NGOs, and government agencies huddled in twos and threes over papers, pens, and laptops. While we worked in a windowless room, our minds were in the salty sea. Two old friends studied the regulations and enforcement in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, feeding ground to a myriad of whales, seals, sharks and birds off the eastern coast of the U.S. Two recent acquaintances recorded the size and age of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park that protects breathtaking corals and the species that call them home along Australia’s northeastern coast. Our task was to test a marine protected area (MPA) evaluation framework – to identify its weaknesses and brainstorm solutions. Our goal is to protect marine biodiversity around the globe.


Image: Scientists put the GLORES evaluation criteria through the paces during a focus group held at the International Marine Conservation Congress.

“Making marine science matter,” was the theme of the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC4), held this month in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. More than twenty scientists devoted a full day at the end of the conference to make their science matter by developing the evaluation criteria for the Global Ocean Refuge System in a focus group led by Marine Conservation Institute.

Marine Conservation Institute has initiated the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) to address the growing threats to life in sea. It will be a strategic network of strongly protected marine areas awarded designation according to science-based standards. The designation award incentives aim to catalyze meaningful protections for at least 30% of the marine ecosystems in each region of the ocean by 2030. It is an ambitious goal – currently only about 2% of the global ocean is effectively protected – but it is one that reflects the growing scientific consensus that meaningful protection of 30% or more of the global ocean is needed to safeguard marine ecosystems [1]. GLORES relies on the large body of science identifying the attributes of effective MPAs to set the bar for meaningful protections of marine life.

GLORES 2 (1)

Image: An overview of the draft GLORES evaluation criteria.

Participants in the GLORES focus group at IMCC4 built on the accomplishments of workshops held last fall in California, U.S.A. and two years ago at IMCC3 in Glasgow, Scotland. We wrestled with challenging aspects of evaluating MPAs: judging MPAs with multiple regulatory zones, identifying appropriate evidence of community engagement in MPA management, and determining the activities compatible with protecting marine life when the impacts of those activities are unclear.

What emerged from our efforts in St. John’s was a commitment to strengthen the GLORES evaluation framework and launch the Global Ocean Refuge System with an online nomination platform, candidate site evaluations, and inaugural GLORES awards as soon as possible. A rapid industrial revolution is underway in the ocean, and we recognize the urgent need to catalyze protections and stem the loss of marine biodiversity. In the coming year we will debut the Global Ocean Refuge System to safeguard marine life now and for future generations.

Please be in touch if you are interested in supporting GLORES or receiving updates about GLORES.


[1] O’Leary, B. C., M. Winther-Janson, J. M. Bainbridge, J. Aitken, J. P. Hawkins, and C. M. Roberts. 2016. Effective coverage targets for ocean protection. Conservation Letters.

Dr. Sarah Hameed is a postdoctoral fellow at Marine Conservation Institute.



Archive Your IMCC4 Poster and Slides with a DOI


The quality of the science that has already been communicated at the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC4) is just formidable. So many amazing talks and engaging posters.


The live-tweets that have been sent, and the knowledge that has been shared is already a lasting impact of IMCC4, but we want that impact to be so much more. Therefore, for the first time in IMCC history we are setting up infrastructure for you to archive your talk or poster.

All you need to do is upload them at our F1000 Channel. You’ll receive a DOI reference when your submission is finished processing. Please don’t upload anything you don’t want shared as this is totally open access. Also, there is an option to submit an article, but we will not be using this. Submissions to the conference proceedings hosted by Frontiers in Marine Science can be made here.

Poster Session Food – An Apology


Dear IMCC4 Delegates,

The IMCC4 Organizing Committee just want to make an apology this morning for the nature of the food that was served at last night’s poster session. It was our intention that the only non-vegetarian food served at the congress would be at this evening’s sustainable seafood dinner. The meat and seafood of unknown provenance was not at all what we had intended to have served at the event. At this IMCC and future ones it will continue to be the SCB Marine Section’s intention to reduce its carbon footprint and to discourage the consumption of unsustainable seafood. Thank you for your understanding. We hope you enjoyed the event otherwise. There were so many great posters and the local art was fantastic.


The IMCC Organizing Committee.



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: https://youtu.be/TJJiPZ21uV8

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

Details:  http://conbio.org/mini-sites/imcc-2016/program-events/marine-movies/

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