1145 17th Street NW
Eastern James Bay
Overlapping Interests Area - Cree zone
Overlapping Interests Area - Cree/Inuit Joint Zone
Parks Canada (PC)
Eeyou Marine Region Wildlife Board (EMRWB)
Eeyou Marine Region Planning Commissions (EMRPC)
Nunavik Marine Region Planning Commission (NMRPC)
Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board (NMRWB)
Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)
Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS)
Cree Nation Government (CNG)
Environment Canada (EC)
Transport Canada (TC)
National Geographic Pristine Seas. Canada 2022
Project Status Completed Screening
Who We Are
Pristine Seas is the National Geographic Society’s flagship marine conservation initiative that seeks to explore, document, and protect vital ocean areas. The team is composed of scientists, conservationists, filmmakers, expedition and operations leaders, communications and policy experts based in Washington, DC, and other locations worldwide. Over the next ten years, we
will work globally with local and indigenous communities, governments, and partners to establish 40 new marine protections and catalyze the global community to protect at least 30% of the ocean by 2030. Our upcoming expedition to Canada is part of this initiative through supporting Indigenous leadership in their marine protection goals.
Pristine Seas is planning to conduct an expedition to seven proposed priority conservation sites across the Northern Labrador Sea, Hudson Bay, and James Bay that have been identified by Indigenous leadership and the federal government. This Pristine Seas campaign will support Indigenous-led conservation and the Canadian Government’s commitment to protecting 25% of its ocean by 2025 and 30% by 2030. The goal of the expedition is to help promote marine stewardship and protections in the region. This expedition is in support of the Cree Nation Government's efforts to create a National Marine Conservation Area in the Eeyou Marine
While the overall expedition to each of the regions will take place from the beginning of July to mid-August 2022, the approximate dates for the Eeyou Marine Region are July 30 to August 21, 2022.
We are working with CNG and EMRWB to determine the locations to visit. Currently the plan is to bring the vessel to Chisasibi and work from there with zodiacs and rigged-hulled inflatable boats which have an approximate distance of travel of about 60 km from the vessel. The research and filming will only take place within the Cree Zone (no areas of overlap). We will not be conducting research in the Cree/Inuit Joint Zone, only transiting through these waters. All permits are being applied to currently.
There will be approximately 30-45 people aboard the Polar Prince vessel supporting expedition activities. Ten Students on Ice staff and students will also be on board for this portion of the expedition. Four to eight members from the region will join the expedition and will be identified with support from the Cree Nation Government and local communities as needed. Participation in the expedition is subject to COVID-19 conditions. We will engage local community members to contribute to Explorer Classroom-style events if internet connectivity allows. Explorer Classroom-style events are virtual live-streamed (sometimes recorded) video sessions broadcast on YouTube where National Geographic Pristine Seas expedition members and partners share stories about the expedition’s goals, partnerships, and interview local representatives to share their respective stories and protection goals.
We will conduct scientific research that addresses the needs of each region to the extent possible. The research will include general descriptions, photographs, and video of the underwater ecosystems, as well as more quantitative sampling when possible. The research will include Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling, conducting in-water surveys down to ~30 meters, and deploying remote cameras offshore just below the surface to the deepest depths of the region. More information on our research methods is included in the following sections. Also during the expedition, our team of filmmakers and photographers aim to capture photos
and video footage of the expedition, the research, our partners, and the local stakeholders to create a documentary film for the local community and government to help inform the need for marine protections. The film will incorporate local community members, Indigenous and government leaders and community members and will be translated into the local language and
dialects. The film tone, messaging and audience will be guided by Indigenous conservation leaders and governance in each region.
Through the research and media collected and produced during this expedition, Pristine Seas aims to connect local communities and governments with our coalition of world-class partners who support education, conservation economies, ocean carbon market, and monitoring so communities have the expertise and tools required for the long-term sustainability of marine protections.
Main scientific goal: To explore and document the unique and largely unexplored underwater ecosystems of Northern Labrador Sea, Hudson Bay, and James Bay, with the ultimate goal of helping to inform the creation of new marine protections in the region.
We plan to include Indigenous Knowledge (IK) from the regions, under the guidance of Indigenous leadership and local experts. We would also like to include an onboard training component on the team’s research methods for communities visited, if COVID restrictions allow. Any Indigenous Knowledge interviews that take place will be used for the purpose of creating a documentary film to tell the story of the region and expedition, not for the research. Regional science reports will be developed for each region visited by the expedition, as well as an overall science report. Scientific papers will also be published from the data collected on the expedition. Regional review of these reports and papers will be obtained before publication. Data will be shared with the regions once analyses are complete.