This past weekend in Cambridge, Ontario, the Vancouver Aquarium received accolades from the Canadian zoo and aquarium community, winning the Thomas R. Baines Award for the creation of the Steller’s Bay  exhibit, and the Col. G.D. Dailley Award, which recognizes achievement in propagation and management programs that contributes to the long-term survival of at-risk animal species or populations.

The new Steller’s Bay exhibit brings visitors up close to majestic sea lions.

Steller’s Bay, an exhibit that spotlights majestic and mysterious Steller sea lions, opened on July 1, 2017. The exhibit brings the Aquarium’s longstanding pinniped research to the forefront allowing visitors to see first hand the critical role the resident Steller sea lions play in conserving their ocean counterparts. Not only can visitors observe the Steller sea lions both above and below the water’s surface, they also watch marine mammal trainers collect valuable metabolic information which contributes to ongoing studies as scientists work to better understand this species.

Arctic cod eggs just prior to hatching in the Vancouver Aquarium’s propagation lab.

The Vancouver Aquarium was also recognized for its Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) propagation program, initiated in 1990 and reinvigorated in 2012 with the construction of an Arctic lab. This led to successful rearing of the species through larval to juvenile stages, and eventual sexual maturity. As Arctic cod are of vital importance to Arctic food webs, the Aquarium’s propagation program is establishing an understanding of this species at every stage of development and may allow researchers to best predict population and food web consequences as the Arctic changes.

All together now! The Ocean Wise and CAZA teams pose for a group shot: Tim Sinclair-Smith (CAZA Awards Committee), Susan Shafer (Executive Director, CAZA), Dolf DeJong (Former General Manager Vancouver Aquarium), John Nightingale (Ocean Wise CEO, Clint Wright (Ocean Wise COO & Executive Vice-President), Lindsey Galloway (President, CAZA), Bernie Gallant  (CAZA Awards Committee).

“We are honoured to be recognized by our peers for our Steller’s Bay exhibit and Arctic cod propagation program,” said Dr. John Nightingale, president and CEO of Ocean Wise. “These two CAZA Awards are especially important to us as they recognize how the Vancouver Aquarium is contributing to science-based ocean conservation solutions and connecting visitors to this ongoing research.”

Founded in 1975, CAZA is the leading animal welfare standards-development organization in Canada. Its standards-development process includes expert opinions from researchers, biologists, and academics to ensure the standards reflect the latest in animal-welfare research, organizational management, and public-safety protocols. Through a science-based approach, CAZA’s standards bridge the ethical concerns regarding zoos and aquariums. These standards are currently the only pan-Canadian set of standards mandating zoological facilities in the country.

View the full list of 2018 CAZA Award recipients by visiting


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