Season’s Greetings!

And so the time has come, full of holiday cheer, love, and family, we have reached the end of the year and the end of the decade! As 2020 is just around the corner, we thought it would be a great time to reflect on this past year!  

CaNOE in 2019

This year we created a brand new World Oceans Day webpage! There you can find info about World Oceans Day (did you know it was proposed by the Canadian delegation at the Earth Summit: United Nations Conference in 1992?), and a member-submitted list of events happening across Canada on and around June 8th!

CaNOE also worked closely with HFX Oceans Week to start planning how to make Oceans Week a nationwide celebration! With the help of Ocean Networks Canada, a workshop on how to plan an Oceans Weeks event was held in Victoria, BC. They launched their Facebook page to share the variety of events that were hosted throughout the week! We can’t wait to see how this will grow in 2020!

We also launched our much anticipated Educational Resource Library!  Crafted by our Education and Outreach Working Group, it is a collection of mostly Canadian resources from kindergarten to grade 12 that are free to use! The working group went through each resource and identified which Ocean Literacy Principle was covered in the resource.  The final tables are searchable, allowing you to use keywords to find the perfect resource for you!

And finally, at our AGM,  we wished farewell to our dedicated co-chairs of the past three years, Heather Murray and Anne Stewart and welcomed our new co-chairs, Holly Neate and Kiley Best, to steer the CaNOE going forward! We also welcomed 5 new board members as well, you can meet everyone here!

Former CaNOE co-chairs, Heather Murray and Anne Stewart with Maia Hoeberechts from ONC. PC: Lucija Prelovec

Canada in 2019

The COLC logo. The four blue arcs represent Canada’s three ocean coastlines—Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific—as well as its extensive inland coasts from the Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence.

2019 was a big year for ocean literacy and ocean conservation in Canada!  It marked the start of the Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition (COLC).  Their main goals are to build a national ocean literacy strategy through consultation, set up a Canadian ocean literacy research and monitoring program, and strengthen ocean literacy initiatives across Canada.  In addition, they are also working on Ocean Week Canada, just released a publication with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, and so much more! With the COLC and CaNOE, the future of ocean literacy is bright in Canada!

2019 was an exciting year for ocean conservation within our Canadian Federal Government! Canada was a signatory onto the Aichi International Targets adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity of protecting 10% of the oceans by 2020… and in August 2019, Canada surpassed that goal by protecting 13.82%, and have vowed to protect 25% by 2025. Furthermore, our Federal Government have updated and signed onto national and international legislation to better protect and govern our oceans. Particular wins of 2019 include renewing Bill C-55, the Oceans Act, which include the ability to quickly create interim Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) such as Tuvaijuittuq, establishment of internationally recognized minimum standards within MPAs (prohibiting mining, dumping, oil and gas activities, and bottom trawl fishing in all-new MPAs, and will review previously established MPAs within 5 years).


Bill C-68, the Fisheries Act, was also updated to include the ending of shark fin trading (both import and export) and the creation of Marine Refuges which are long-term fisheries closures to protect sensitive ecosystems and fish populations. Co-Governance and the usage of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in protection, fish population assessments and fishery management are now also under legislation and will uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples. The “Free Willy” Bill S-203 was passed, prohibiting the captivity and breeding of cetaceans in Canada. Lastly, there were Ministerial orders, new Acts, and Amendments to Acts to increase the protection of Species at Risk and sensitive habitat, by reducing threats caused by shipping, oil tanker capacities, and marine debris / plastic pollution. 2019 was a win for our Canadian Oceans, and we hope to see it continue in 2020 and on!

International Ocean Literacy 

This year CaNOE continued to have a presence on the global stage. Board member, Patrick Wells, attended the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) conference in Durham, New Hampshire, where he represented CaNOE in two presentations.  You can read about his experience in his trout-standing blog post.  

The group of international NMEA participants at the year’s conference. PC: NMEA
International ocean literacy panel

While our other Board Member, Lucija Prelovec, attended the European Marine Science Educators Association (EMSEA) conference in the Azores, Portugal where she participated in an international ocean literacy panel with representatives from the States, the UK, and Australia.

EMSEA conference participants in the Azores

Ocean literacy has gone leaps and bounds internationally, much of which is thanks to Francesca Santoro, Programme Specialist and Project Manager- Ocean Literacy from UNESCO, the lead author of the UNESCO Ocean Literacy Toolkits.  In July, an ocean literacy panel was held at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) General Assembly, which lead to support and commitments from countless countries.  Truely a jaw-some moment to witness! You can find the panel video at the end of this blog.

The upcoming decade will be an exciting one for ocean literacy! 2021-2030 has been dubbed the Decade for Ocean Science for Sustainable Development! While still a year away, preparations are well underway, including a recent ocean literacy workshop where international ocean literacy leaders came together to develop an ocean literacy strategy for the Ocean Decade.  CaNOE was represented by Janet Stalker, a member of the COLC. 

And that’s a wrap on 2019! We look forward to the new year! Stay tuned, CaNOE has some great things planned for 2020!

Thanks to Lucija Prelovec, Mary Allison Butt, and Patrick Wells for helping put together this blog.

Ocean literacy panel from the IOC General Assembly:

Leave a Comment

Never Miss Out

Sign up to receive notifications whenever we post a new article and stay updated on all things ocean!

[email-subscribers-form id=”1″]