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Articles by Sabine Jessen

Sabine Jessen is the National Manager of the Oceans and Great Freshwater Lakes Program for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. She also serves as the Conservation Director for the British Columbia Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. Sabine has been involved with CPAWS since 1991 when she began four years of volunteer work, prior to becoming the first Executive Director of the BC chapter. She has worked on marine conservation issues since 1993, and also conducted research on land use planning in Canada’s Arctic.

Sabine holds a Masters Degree in Geography from the University of Waterloo, specializing in coastal zone management and environmental regulation. She has served as an Advisor to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, BC Parks, the British Columbia Commission on Resources and Environment, and the Economic Council of Canada. Sabine was appointed as an Adjunct Professor in the Resource and Environmental Management Program at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in 2008 and is currently co-supervising a project reviewing previous experience with marine protected areas (MPAs) in Canada’s Arctic. In 2009, Sabine began her PhD studies in the Department of Geography at SFU focused on international comparative experience with MPA and MPA network establishment. Her contribution to coastal zone management in Canada was recognized in 2008 with the H.B. Nicholls award from the Coastal Zone Canada Association, and she was awarded the Stan Rowe Home Place Graduate Award by the Canadian Council on Ecological Areas (CCEA) 2010, and a Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions PhD fellowship in 2011.

Sabine is currently on leave until December 2012.

Humpback whales still need our help!


Last weekend the Canadian government moved forward with the formal legal process to downgrade the status of the Pacific humpback whales from the “threatened” to “special concern” status under the Species at Risk Act. Normally, seeing an increase in numbers of a species to the point where they are no longer considered officially “threatened” would be cause for celebration

Ceremonial raising of Haida Pole - first in over 130 years


Steeped in a tradition that goes back thousands of years, while at the same time representing the vibrant future of the Haida Nation, the Legacy Pole was raised at Windy Bay in Gwaii Haanas yesterday. The 42-foot monument honours the historic agreement between the Haidi nation and the Canadian government that led to the creation of the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve.

Protecting our oceans is a great investment!


I woke up today to the headline in the Globe and Mail that the federal government “is preparing to commit long-term cash for infrastructure in its 2013 budget”. That’s great. I am sure hoping this will include investments in our “ocean infrastructure”.

Climate change impacts on our oceans forcing marine species out of their homes


An article recently published in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper here in Australia reported that “…the giant kelp jungles in the waters off south-east Australia are gravely threatened by climate change…”. The situation is now so serious, with some kelp forests in Tasmania reduced by 95%, that the Australian environment Minister has listed the entire ecological community of kelp forests as endangered under federal environment law. This situation has arisen because the East Australian Current has strengthened as a result of climate change, leading to an unprecedented warming of southern waters, and forcing many marine species to go further south in search of colder waters. With kelp forests only found in small parts of southeast Australia, the kelp doesn’t really have anywhere else to go as the water temperature rises.

Canada has much to learn from Australia when it comes to protecting our oceans


As world leaders gather this week in Rio for the UN conference on Sustainable Development, many will come to promote their work at home to meet international commitments, including those related to protection of the oceans, one of the priority issues at Rio +20. Canada has much to learn from Australia. In fact, it will be difficult for any country in the world to beat the Australians. Just last week, Australia made an unprecedented announcement – in one fell swoop they created a national, representative network of 44 marine protected areas (MPAs) in Commonwealth (federal) waters. The new MPAs cover a whopping 3.1 million square kilometres, about one third of Australia’s ocean territory.

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