July 22, 2013 - 10:06am

NANAIMO, BC – Rick Hansen welcomed the world to Canada and BC at the 7th International Symposium on Sturgeon taking place in Nanaimo from July 22-25. He congratulated VIU and the City of Nanaimo for their leadership in bringing the world together to share their knowledge about sturgeon.

“Because of my learnings and work in the promotion of spinal cord research, I understand the only way to accelerate progress is to work collaboratively, sharing knowledge and using best practices,” said Hansen. “By doing this through events such as the ISS7, we create a lasting network for decades to come.”

Hansen is Honorary ISS7 Chair and Founding Chair of the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society (FRSCS). Under his leadership, the FRSCS develops and promotes education, public awareness initiatives, award-winning research programs and recovery plans for the Fraser River white sturgeon population.

“As part of a collaborative team, the FRSCS has spent more than a decade investigating issues that affect the recovery of Fraser River white sturgeon,” said Hansen.

“This symposium will make a difference – it represents the next step in attaining world awareness of preserving vibrant, diverse, ecosystems and developing a healthy planet.”

Dr. Harald Rosenthal, President of the World Sturgeon Conservation Society (WSCS), said, “Rick’s work in public engagement is one of the few examples we have that vividly demonstrates what public participation can achieve in species conservation. The public world wide needs to hear about these living dinosaurs which may face a dire future without the much needed conservation efforts promoted by FRSCS and its leader. Rick Hansen’s efforts serve as a model for other jurisdictions.”

Hansen, along with VIU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ralph Nilson and Dr. Rosenthal, welcomed more than 200 delegates from 35 countries to the ISS7 at the opening reception in Nanaimo on Sunday.

The four day symposium entitled “Sturgeon, Science and Society – at the Crossroads: Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century” and will set the stage for global sturgeon research and conservation efforts.

During ISS7 in Nanaimo, researchers and world sturgeon experts are examining topics critical to sturgeon and providing the most up-to-date reports on the progress of conservation and restoration efforts worldwide.

Interactive workshops and discussion forums will focus on seven themes including General Biology and Ecology; Status and Management of Populations; Sturgeon – a Heritage Fish; Human Impacts on Sturgeon Stocks and Mitigation Measures; Aquaculture; Caviar, Processing and Marketing; and Regulations for Conservation and International Trade.

On Tuesday, Peter Redmayne, President of Sea Fare Group and editor of the respected Seafood Leader and Simply Seafood magazines, will deliver a plenary session talking about trends in global seafood marketing.

Thursday, Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and Vancouver Island University Chancellor, will deliver an address entitled First Nations Fisheries: Protecting our Rights and Managing our Resources.

ISS7 delegates will also take part in special events and tours on Vancouver Island including a First Nations traditional feast in a Longhouse with dancers and story-telling, tours of VIU’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station in Bowser, VIU’s $5.2-million International Centre for Sturgeon Studies at the Nanaimo campus and a marine tour of Baynes Sound.

For more information about the ISS7 or VIU’s International Centre for Sturgeon Studies, go to



Janina Stajic, Manager, Communications and Public Engagement, Vancouver Island University P: 250.740.6288 E: Twitter: @VIUNews

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