National Geographic Pristine Seas Launches Summer Expedition in Canada to Support Indigenous-Led Protected Areas – National Geographic Society Newsroom
Pristine Seas will work with Indigenous and regional partners, the Government of Canada and Oceans North
Washington, DC (June 23, 2022)—National Geographic Pristine Seas, a global marine conservation initiative, will launch an expedition to priority marine conservation sites in the Arctic and Subarctic that have been identified by Indigenous leaders and the Canadian government . The expedition is in partnership with Oceans North, an organization dedicated to supporting marine conservation in partnership with indigenous and coastal communities. Oceans North is helping facilitate the expedition in conjunction with Indigenous and regional partners and will have staff on board the vessel.
The expedition includes a multidisciplinary team that will explore and document the unique and largely understudied underwater ecosystems and a media team that will capture footage to produce two documentary films. Scientific research and documentary films are intended to support marine conservation in the regions.
Scientists on board will use a variety of research methods, including underwater visual census, seafloor sampling, remote cameras, and environmental DNA analysis (eDNA), a method of collecting traces of material biology to identify species. The data collected will be used to develop a scientific article with the results of the expedition that will contribute to a better understanding of the biodiversity and ecosystems of James Bay, Hudson Bay and Nunatsiavut waters. Scientific discoveries will support Indigenous-led conservation.
The Pristine Seas media team has joined over thirty expeditions and produced dozens of films supporting the creation of new marine protected areas around the world by showcasing critical underwater ecosystems and the communities that depend on them. Recently, the team produced the Emmy Award-winning documentary “The last ice cream,” Pristine Seas’ feature debut that tells the story of Inuit communities struggling to protect the rapidly changing Arctic that has been their home for centuries. The two expedition documentaries will amplify the voices of Indigenous and regional leaders and support their efforts in marine protection and stewardship.
During the months of July and August, the expedition will survey five priority areas and will take place aboard the MV Polar Prince, a 220-foot (67-meter) Indigenous-owned, Canadian-flagged research icebreaker. To follow along throughout the expedition, Pristine Seas will share regular updates from the field at instagram and Twitter.
“Pristine Seas will survey and document Canada’s Arctic and Subarctic regions to support our Indigenous and regional partners and the Government of Canada‘s shared goal of creating new marine protected areas,” said Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and executive director of National Geographic. Geographic Virgin Seas.
Representatives from Indigenous and regional partners, the Government of Canada and Oceans North, will join Pristine Seas as partners aboard the Polar Prince during the expedition. Additionally, the Students on Ice (SOI) Foundation, an educational organization that encourages on the spot Youth Experiences in the Polar Regions and Beyond, will be on board with indigenous young adults who will gain hands-on experience in expedition, conservation and scientific research.
“We have worked with National Geographic Pristine Seas and Oceans North to ensure the region’s significance to the Inuit, and to ensure that our historic use and knowledge of the land, sea and ice is told through our voices. . It is essential to have traditional Inuit knowledge, combined with science, to ensure that our understanding of the region is complete,” said Johannes Lampe, President of the Nunatsiavut Government.
“We are delighted to partner with National Geographic Pristine Seas on this expedition, which will help support marine conservation and shine a light on the successes of governments and local communities,” said Louie Porta, Executive Director of Oceans North.
“The SOI Foundation is very pleased to be collaborating on this important journey to Canada’s North and to help engage and inspire young leaders in communities across the region,” said Geoff Green, Founder of the SOI Foundation.
“The Eeyou Marine Region Wildlife Council is thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to support this global marine initiative, led by the world renowned National Geographic Pristine Seas. This expedition will not only serve to expand our local knowledge of the wildlife and natural components that form our current seascape climate for the James Bay Cree coastal communities of Eeyou Istchee, but will also connect our region in a global effort to protect and conserve the marine areas of our Earth for future generations,” said Angela Coxon, Director of the Eeyou Marine Region Wildlife Council.
This Pristine Seas campaign will support Indigenous-led conservation and the Canadian government’s commitment to protect 25% of its oceans by 2025 and 30% by 2030. Currently, Canada has protected 13% of its oceans.
About National Geographic Pristine Seas
National Geographic Pristine Seas is an exploration, research and media project founded and led by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala. The Pristine Seas team is made up of determined scientists, policy experts and filmmakers who work to inspire the creation of protected areas where marine life can thrive, while ensuring effective management for years to come. Pristine Seas has helped inspire the creation of 26 marine reserves, an area totaling over 6.5 million square kilometers. Learn more at nationalgeographic.org/pristineseas.
About Oceans North
Oceans North is a charitable organization that promotes science and community conservation in the Arctic and Atlantic regions of Canada, as well as West Greenland. The organization’s goal is to promote policies and programs that address the unprecedented environmental changes occurring in northern marine ecosystems and to ensure that they are protected within the framework of knowledge, rights and aboriginal consultation.
About the Students on Ice (SOI) Foundation
SOI’s mission is to foster globally minded youth by immersing them in nature, transformative learning environments and collaborative cross-cultural travel. Since 1999, thousands of young people from more than 55 countries have participated in SOI expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. SOI is also active in supporting initiatives and partnerships focused on ocean literacy, Arctic policy, climate change and a sustainable blue economy.