Canada's largest marine conservation organization celebrates 10 years of protecting the ocean
Sointula, B.C. - What started 10 years ago in a spare bedroom in a small fishing village has grown into a powerful force working to conserve the health Canada's oceans. Living Oceans Society, the brainchild of founder and Executive Director Jennifer Lash, is now Canada's largest marine conservation organization, influencing oceans policies and practices from coast to coast to coast.
In British Columbia, Living Oceans Society is leading the battle to keep the coast free from oil rigs, and is dramatically reforming the salmon farming industry. They have conducted cutting edge analyses to identify marine protected areas, and have performed the most comprehensive study on deep sea corals done to date. At the national level Living Oceans Society is helping to develop a new approach to oceans management through the development of conservation-based marine plans.
"We bring a small town sensibility to the national debate on oceans conservation," says Jennifer Lash. "Sointula is home to fishermen and other coastal residents whose lives are intertwined with the sea and who depend on it for food, employment and inspiration. It is this connection between people and the ocean that informs our work both at home and nationally."
Running a national organization from a remote fishing community is not always easy, but the benefits outweigh the costs. "I have to travel a great deal and that can be hard on my family," says Lash, who is a single mother of eight year old twins. "It helps that I have a fantastic network of people in the community who help my family, and I have an amazing team at Living Oceans Society who always get the job done.
While the organization may have been my vision, it has become a reality due to the hard work and commitment of many people."
In the next 10 years Living Oceans Society is looking to raise the oceans' profile amongst all Canadians. "The ocean provides the air we breathe, the food we eat and contributes to our national economy," Lash says. "Whether you live on the coast or in central Canada, the ocean touches you everyday. In order to sustain our way of life, we must also sustain our seas."
Living Oceans Society will be holding celebration events in Vancouver on October 17th and a Fishermen's Ball in Sointula on December 5th.
Jennifer Lash, Executive Director, Living Oceans Society, 250-973-6580