July 18, 2013 - 7:38am

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, July 18, 2013

WHAT – The World Sturgeon Conservation Society’s (WSCS) 7th International Symposium on Sturgeon (ISS7) will be held at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo, BC from July 21 to 25. Co-hosted by the City of Nanaimo and Vancouver Island University, the conference title is “Sturgeon, Science and Society – at the Crossroads: Meeting the Challenges of the 21st Century.”

WHO – Approximately 300 delegates from around the world will attend the four-day symposium, including experts from Germany, China, Canada and the United States.

WHY - The symposium will set the stage for global sturgeon research and conservation efforts. Previous WSCS meetings were held in China (2009), Iran (2005) and the United States (2001). Held once every four years, these meetings give scientists, policy makers and industry representatives an opportunity to assess progress in sturgeon research and to develop priorities for future studies.

MEDIA PASSES AND INTERVIEWS – Please check in at the Registration desk at Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo (Newcastle lobby, 3rd floor) to obtain a media pass. Janina Stajic (cell: 250-618-2360) or Christine Demecha of VIU (cell: 250-618-0373) will be on site to help arrange media interviews with the following people:

•Rick Hansen, Honorary ISS7 Chair and Founding Chair of the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society (FRSCS)

•Dr. Harald Rosenthal, President of the World Sturgeon Conservation Society

•Peter Redmayne, President of Sea Fare Group

•Dr. Ralph Nilson, VIU President and Vice-Chancellor

•Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and Vice-Chancellor of VIU

•His Worship John Ruttan, Mayor of the City of Nanaimo

•Don Tillapaugh, Director of VIU’s International Centre for Sturgeon Studies and ISS7 Chair

BACKGROUND - Sturgeon are considered ‘living dinosaurs.’ They have remained largely unchanged for more than 160 million years, yet their future is in peril. Sturgeon are an endangered species due to over-harvesting and other challenges. Worldwide efforts are underway to conserve and in many cases rescue these valuable fish. At the same time, a vibrant sturgeon aquaculture industry is developing (meat, caviar, etc.), without dependence on wild populations.

During ISS7, researchers and world sturgeon experts will examine topics critical to sturgeon and provide 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.

While visiting Nanaimo, ISS7 delegates will take part in special events and tours 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.

Key events of interest to the media:

Monday, July 22

9 – 10:15 am Opening Ceremony & Welcome Speeches

10:45 – 11:50 am Plenary Session – Rick Hansen, ISS7 Honourary Chair and Founding Chair, Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society. Title: Public Involvement as a necessary force/strategy for sturgeon conservation.

Tuesday, July 23

9 – 10 am Plensary Session: Peter Redmayne, President of Sea Fare Group and editor of the respected Seafood Leader and Simply Seafood magazines. Title: Trends in Global Seafood Marketing

Thursday, July 25

9:05 to 9:50 am Plenary Session: Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations and Vancouver Island University Chancellor. Title: First Nations Fisheries: Protecting our Rights and Managing our Resources

9:50 to 10 am Special presentation to Dr. Harald Rosenthal by Shawn Atleo

For more information about the ISS7 symposium or Vancouver Island University’s International Centre for Sturgeon Studies, go to


ABOUT VIU: Vancouver Island University is Canada’s west coast university. Known as a centre of excellence for teaching, learning and applied research, VIU offers a diverse range of certificate, diploma and undergraduate and master degree programs to more than 18,000 students on campuses in Nanaimo, Powell River and Cowichan, and at the Parksville-Qualicum Centre. For more information visit

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