Explore more at ocean.org
Page background

Coastal Ocean Awards


Event Details

Ocean leaders made waves at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, as British Columbia’s best and brightest gathered at the 22nd Annual Coastal Ocean Awards. The award ceremony was a splashy event featuring canapés and a three-course dinner by Ned Bell, Ocean Wise ambassador and Executive Chef of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre. Guests were treated to music, comedy and art as they learned more about the lives and accomplishments of the award winners.

The Murray A. Newman Award for Significant Achievement in Aquatic Research was awarded to Dr. Chris Harley of UBC for his exceptional research on coastal marine ecology and the impacts of climate change.

The Murray A. Newman Award for Significant Achievement in Aquatic Conservation was awarded to Mr. Graeme Ellis for his exceptional lifetime contributions to killer whale research and conservation.

The Coastal Ocean Communication Award was awarded to guud san glans (Mr. Robert Davidson), one of Canada’s most respected and important contemporary visual artists.

The award for Innovative Use of Technology was given to Mr. Glen Dennison for his invaluable and inventive design and application of technologies that have contributed to understanding, conserving, and communicating the irreplaceable glass sponge reefs in Howe Sound and the diverse species that inhabit them.

The award for Conservation Volunteer was awarded to Mr. Peter Mieras, who designed and implemented the “Derelict Gear Removal” program in the Barkley Sound. The program entails removing nets from the ocean floor to prevent sea creatures from becoming entangled in lost and discarded nets.

Dr. Lucas Brotz received the Michael A. Bigg Award for student research, for his exceptional contributions to the understanding of jellyfish in waters around the world.

The North Medal for Contribution to Research and Conservation was awarded to Mr. Tony Allard, a remarkable promoter for a sustainable future for BC’s coastal ecosystems and for active engagement of local indigenous communities in pursuing this goal.

Coastal Ocean Research Institute
save the dATE

February 2018


Vancouver Aquarium




  • Murray A. Newman Conservation Action Award: for highly significant recent work and/or an entire career of important, field-leading contributions in Coastal Ocean Conservation
  • Murray A. Newman Conservation Research Award: for highly significant recent work and/or an entire career of important, field-leading contributions in Coastal Ocean Research
  • Michael A. Bigg Award:  for highly significant student research advancing knowledge related to Coastal Oceans.
  • Conservation and Research Communication Award: for highly significant recent work and/or an entire career of important contributions in media, journalism, and digital communications related to Coastal Oceans.
  • Conservation Volunteer: for highly significant recent or long-standing volunteer contributions related to Coastal Oceans.
  • Innovative Use of Technology: for a research or conservation project where technology has played a pivotal role in advancing knowledge or conservation of Coastal Oceans. 
  • Transformative Project: for a Coastal Ocean research or conservation project that has generated significant results related to one or more of the following: relationships between groups, conservation impact, awareness and education, and/or advancing knowledge.


Nominations for 2016 Awards are now closed. Please send nominations for 2017 to: Bailey.Eagan@ocean.org 

Please note recipients must attend the event to receive their awards.


The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre created the Murray A. Newman Awards in 1995 to mark the retirement of its founding director, Dr. Murray A. Newman. Throughout his 37 year career at the Vancouver Aquarium, Dr. Newman was a strong advocate for coastal ocean research and conservation. 

Instituted in 2007, the Michael A. Bigg Award celebrates the life and scientific achievements of pioneering killer whale researcher Dr. Michael Bigg (1939-1990).


Letters should include:

  1. The name of the person or project being nominated and contact information.
  2. The award for which the person/project is being nominated.
  3. A brief summary of the nominee’s achievements and impacts. 
  4. A letter of support and at least one additional reference or letter.
  5. Additional relevant material (such as a CV, publication list, web-link, project report, etc.).

Please note that nominations submitted in the previous three years for the Murray A. Newman Awards will automatically be reconsidered for the 2017 awards, but we encourage the submission of updates before the nomination deadline. 


Nominations for the 2016 Awards are now closed. Please email nomination letters and materials by for 2017 to Bailey.Eagan@ocean.org

Or mail them to:

Vancouver Aquarium
PO Box 3232
Vancouver, BC
V6B 3X8

Inquiries - Bailey Eagan 604.659.3429

Past Award Recipients

Murray A. Newman Research
Dr. William Ricker 1995
Dr. Thomas Northcote 1996
Mr. Kenneth Ashley 1997
Dr. Eric B. Taylor 1998
Dr. Timothy Parsons 1999
Dr. J. Donald McPhail 2000
Dr. Daniel Pauly 2001
Drs. Anthony Farrell,
Ms. Patricia Gallaugher,
and Mr. Rick Routledge 2002
Dr. Thomas Reimchen 2003
Dr. David R. Jones 2004
Dr. Carl Walters 2005
Dr. Paul Harrison 2006
Dr. David A. Higgs 2007
Dr. David Randall 2008
Dr. John K.B. Ford 2009
Dr Randall Peterman 2010
Dr. Frank Whitney 2011
Dr. Peter Ross 2012
Dr. Robert Devlin 2013
Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe 2013
Dr. John Reynolds 2014
Dr. Colin Brauner 2015
Dr. Chris Harley 2016

Murray A. Newman Conservation
Bertram M. Hoffmeister 1995
Dr. Peter A. Larkin 1996
Mr. Kim Fulton 1997
Mr. Mark Angelo 1998
Dr. Marvin L. Rosenau 1999
Mr. Pat Slaney 2000
Mr. Rod MacVicar 2001
Mr. Rick Hansen 2003
Dr. James Woodey 2004
Dr. Colin Levings 2005
Ms. Alexandra Morton 2006
Mr. Gary Logan 2007
Dr. Kenneth Hall 2008
The Hon. John A. Fraser 2009
Ms. Jackie Hildering 2010
The Canadian Okanagan Basin Technical Working Group 2011
Chef Robert Clark 2012
Dr. Rob Butler 2014
Canada’s Pacific Groundfish Trawl Habitat Agreement 2015
Graeme Ellis 2016

North Medal
Rudy North 2014
The Beaty Family and Sitka Foundation 2015
Tony Allard 2016

Conservation and Research Communication
Ms. Linda Aylesworth 2011
Dr. Richard Beamish, Mr. Gordon MacFarlane,
Mr. Ian Robson, and Mr. Howard and Mrs. Mary White for
“The Sea Among Us” 2015
guud san glans Robert Davidson 2016

Innovation in Technology
Mr. Phil Nuytten 2015
Glen Dennison 2016

Conservation Volunteer
Ms. Catherine Smith 2015
Peter Mieras 2016

Michael A. Bigg Award for Student Research
Ms. Marina Piscitelli 2015
Dr. Lucas Brotz 2016

Transformative Project
The Marine Planning Partnership 2015


Here are some photos from our 2017 event. Click on the images below to view full size.


Share Your Thoughts

How was your visit? Fill in our comment card and let us know.
Find it here


Donate Now

Your donation supports ocean conservation.

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

A jelly is made up of up to 96 per cent water.
Read more