MEDIA ADVISORY: Canada’s plan to protect 30 per cent of its oceans by 2030 set sail at IMPAC5 in Vancouver


WWF-Canada will be taking part in The Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5) in Vancouver from Feb. 3-9, 2023.


VANCOUVER, February 1, 2023 — Coming fast on the heels of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework at COP15, the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5), taking place in Vancouver from Feb. 3-9, is the first time the global ocean community will meet since nearly 200 countries agreed to protect a third of the world’s marine and coastal areas by 2030.

WWF-Canada is calling on Canada, as the host country, to be a leader on ocean conservation by advancing the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework. This includes supporting the implementation of well-managed protected area networks and emerging Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and the establishment of strong minimum standards for new and existing marine protected areas.

The week-long forum is an opportunity for practitioners, decision-makers and coastal communities to share their knowledge, experience and best practices for marine conservation as countries begin the work of increasing global marine protection from eight per cent to 30 per cent in just eight years. In Canada, currently more than 13 per cent of oceans and coasts are designated as protected.

“Canada has set strong targets for marine protection, but not all protections are created equal. Progress shouldn’t be measured just by the amount of area set aside for conservation, but whether we protect the right places, in the right ways, for the right reasons. We are urging Canada to champion effective minimum standards for both new and existing marine protected areas that include a comprehensive ban on ship dumping, a strong national ocean noise strategy, and support for Indigenous governance of marine areas,” says Simon J. Mitchell, WWF-Canada’s Vice-President, Resilient Habitats.

WHAT: Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5) will bring together the global community of ocean conservation practitioners and decision-makers to exchange knowledge, experience, and best practices to strengthen marine conservation and biodiversity.

WHEN: Friday, February 3 to Thursday, February 9, 2023

WHERE: Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver, B.C.

WHO: Over 4,000 in-person and 2,000 virtual attendees are expected, including experts from WWF-Canada and across the global WWF network. WWF is also supporting the participation of six Indigenous and community leaders from four countries.

  • Megan Leslie, president and CEO, WWF-Canada
  • Simon J. Mitchell, vice-president of resilient habitats, WWF-Canada
  • Hussein Alidina, lead specialist for marine conservation, WWF-Canada (Great Bear Sea, underwater noise pollution)
  • Sam Davin, senior specialist for marine shipping and conservation, WWF-Canada (minimum standards in MPAs, ship waste)
  • Erin Keenan, senior manager of Arctic marine conservation, WWF-Canada (Arctic MPAs)
  • Jessica Currie, senior specialist for nature-based climate solutions, WWF-Canada (blue carbon)
  • Jimmy Ullikatalik, manager of Spence Bay Hunters and Trappers (Indigenous-led conservation, Aqviqtuuq Inuit Protected and Conserved Area)
  • Pepe Clarke, Oceans Practice Leader, WWF International (Global Ocean conservation)


WWF-Canada sessions at IMPAC5 (in Pacific Standard Time). Please find the full program here.

Saturday, Feb. 4

  • ENGO perspectives on the Northern Shelf Bioregion MPA Network, British Columbia, Canada (presentation with Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-BC, David Suzuki Foundation and West Coast Environmental Law) at 11:30 a.m.
  • Indigenous Ocean Conservation: Knowledge from Indigenous Conservation Leaders in Canada on Taking Care of All Our Shared Connected Waters (with Oceans North and Mushkegowuk Council) at 11:30 a.m.
  • Sea-ing Blue: Reflections On ENGO Collaboration On Canada’s Marine Conservation Targets (with SeaBlue Canada) at 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 5

  • Conservation of Biodiversity: Modeling Waste Production By Ships In Canada’s Federal Marine Protected Areas at 4:00 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 6

  • Indigenous and Coastal Communities’ Leadership: Embedding Centuries of Traditional Knowledge Into Practice to Accelerate Community-Led Conservation (with WWF Coastal Communities, ACAI) at 2:00 m.
  • Blue carbon: A nature-based solution to climate change mitigation (with Parks Canada, Simon Fraser University and the Hakai Institute) at 2:00 p.m.
  • Managing the Impacts of Shipping in Canadian Marine Protected Areas (hosted by WWF-Canada with panelists from Transport Canada, East Coast Environmental Law, Shipping Federation of Canada, Council of the Haida Nation and Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation) at 4:00 p.m.
  • Harnessing Blue Carbon to Expand Marine Protected Areas in Canada (with SeaBlue Canada, Oceans North, DFO, University of Victoria and Blue Carbon Canada) at 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 7

  • Inclusive and Effective Ocean Conservation at Scale: ArcNet: An Arctic Ocean Network of Priority Areas for Conservation (with WWF Global Arctic Program) at 4:00 p.m.
  • Indigenous and Local Communities Marine Conservation Initiatives in the 30×30 Decade (WWF-International) at 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb.8

  • Advancing Marine Conservation Through Marine Spatial Planning: Protected Area Network Planning in Canada at the Pan-Arctic Level (with DFO) at 2:00 p.m.


For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Emily Vandermeer, communications specialist, WWF-Canada, [email protected]

About World Wildlife Fund Canada 
WWF-Canada is committed to equitable and effective conservation actions that restore nature, reverse wildlife loss and fight climate change. We draw on scientific analysis and Indigenous guidance to ensure all our efforts connect to a single goal: a future where wildlife, nature and people thrive. For more information visit