It’s a great week here at Ocean Wise.
Together with the Vancouver Park Board, we announced a new licence agreement that will allow the Vancouver Aquarium to remain in Stanley Park — its home since opening day in 1956 — for the next 35 years. The new agreement marks the start of an exciting chapter. With it in place, we have a solid foundation from which to launch our new five-year strategic plan in January 2020.
“Ocean Wise aspires to become a global ocean conservation organization and wants to inspire people in every corner of the planet to participate in creating healthy oceans, but for most people the ocean is ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ ” said Lasse Gustavsson, CEO and President of Ocean Wise. “There are many threats to the ocean, but the greatest threat is that many believe someone else is going to save it. Ocean Wise has an important role to bring the ocean to the people and the people to the ocean, and the Vancouver Aquarium is one of the best tools we have to do that.”
The Vancouver Aquarium has connected more than 45 million people from around the world to our oceans and all the wonders within them. It’s a world-class visitor attraction, home to thousands of incredible ocean species and aquatic life. It’s also a place that sparks awareness and inspires action to help protect our oceans.
With this agreement in place, we are now set to launch our new five-year strategic plan in January 2020. Everything we do will be to drive real and practical conservation – whether that’s protecting a vital ecosystem, preventing the extinction of endangered species or ensuring our resources are managed sustainably for future generations.
We will do this by enabling and empowering visitors to the Vancouver Aquarium, and millions of others worldwide, to take small actions that add up to big change. We will also continue to invest in research programs, which have contributed to global knowledge of marine wildlife and set apart the organization as a world-class institution.
Gustavsson — most recently the senior vice-president and executive director at Oceana in Europe — took on his new role at Ocean Wise in February. He brought with him 20 years of experience in global conservation, some of those years as executive director of conservation at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) International, where he managed WWF’s global conservation efforts and oversaw a team of 3,000 staff members. Previously, he served as Chief Executive Officer of WWF Sweden and was responsible for re-launching WWF’s International Baltic Sea Program in nine countries as the Program Director of the Baltic Sea Ecoregion Program. Gustavsson has also held leadership positions at Greenpeace International, where he led the organization’s advocacy efforts out of Amsterdam.
“I am encouraged and energized by this achievement: the signing of a new lease on life in Stanley Park for the Vancouver Aquarium,” said Gustavsson. “Our stated mission is to work toward a world in which oceans are healthy and flourishing. We believe that by extending the reach of our research and conservation efforts and making our facilities here in Stanley Park even more fascinating and informative, we can engage more and more people globally in the conservation of our oceans.”