National node - Canada

(c) ottawagraphics / Pixabay

Introducing ECOP Canada

ECOP Canada is the Canada network for the Global ECOP Programme, endorsed by the UN Ocean Decade

ECOP Canada en français

ECOP Canada aims to achieve intergenerational equity by strengthening the diverse voices of early career ocean professionals. Through our network of ocean partners and ECOPs, we aim to address the following needs outlined in Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy:

  1. Adapt to generational values, innovation, and interests.
  2. [Re]build early career professionals connections to the ocean.
  3. Develop and communicate clear career pathways. 
  4. Support experiential learning opportunities. 
  5. Support and create sector strategies to introduce ECOPs to career opportunities. 
A crew of three people on the deck of a boat. Women with helmet on looking up and smiling
(c) Neha Acharya-Patel
Woman on a beach by buckets of water that contain various starfish
(c) Samantha McBeth

Who is an ECOP in Canada?

  • An early career ocean professional (ECOP) is anyone who makes their living from a healthy ocean.
  • An ECOP is a person that self-identifies as being early in their career (10 years or less of professional experience) within any occupation related to the ocean (not only employed/paid positions).
  • ECOPs will be the ones to inherit the decisions made about the ocean today as well as leadership roles in the blue economy.
Why empower ECOPs in Canada now?
  • We are at a pivotal time in which leadership, innovation, and emerging technologies could help us deal with and solve environmental challenges, while introducing new ocean sectors. 
  • Now is the time to take action by supporting the next generation of ocean leaders to meet the goals of the UN Ocean Decade and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Canada has the longest coastline in the world. ECOP Canada creates meaningful engagement and hope through community building from coast to coast to coast.
  • By supporting our network, ECOPs in Canada will help achieve international leadership and a Blue Economy that is environmentally sustainable, socially equitable, and economically viable.
Woman underwater, diving in a kelp forest with scuba gear on.
(c) Andrew McCurdy

Join the ECOP Canada Community on Slack

Are you an early career ocean professional in Canada? Fill out the form below and we’ll email you an invite to join our online community. Slack is the place where you can connect with fellow ECOPs and access meaningful opportunities like jobs, training, funding, events, collaborations, ocean leadership, and more! 

ECOP Canada Coordination Unit

ECOP Canada welcomes you to join the network and share your country’s activities and opportunities related to the UN Decade. 

For any questions or inquiries, please contact:

  • Ashley Bowes
  • Email:
Ashley Bowes is the Education Coordinator for ECOP Canada. She is an ECOP that has over seven years of experience collaborating with leaders in sustainability and non-profit organizations. Ashley has taken her passion as a marine adventurer and communicator to the next level to support and amplify the stories and voices of ECOPs across Canada.
Ashley Bowes is the Education Coordinator for ECOP Canada. She is an ECOP that has over seven years of experience collaborating with leaders in sustainability and non-profit organizations. Ashley has taken her passion as a marine adventurer and communicator to the next level to support and amplify the stories and voices of ECOPs across Canada.

ECOP Canada Steering Committee

Neha Acharya-Patel
Neha Acharya-Patel is an ECOP who has worked across industry, academia and science communication and outreach over the past five years. She is a passionate marine conservationist, early-career scientist and professional diver who spends all the time she can below the surface.
Samantha McBeth
Samantha McBeth is an interdisciplinary ECOP specialized in the polar regions, with a focus on the intersection of environmental research, policy making, and social factors. She’s also been a polar expedition guide and naturalist for the last 5 years, sharing her passion for the Arctic, the North Atlantic, and the Southern Ocean.
Ronnie Noonan-Birch Headshot
Ronnie Noonan-Birch is an ECOP who looks to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Blue Economy as a framework that will lead to meaningful solutions. She is pursuing her Master’s in Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University to find out how the Blue Economy can be better utilized in Canada.

The ECOP Programme’s participation at ICES/PICES launched the first of ECOP Canada’s interactive and networking workshops to engage early-career ocean professionals on their role in the UN Ocean Decade. We asked them: How do you view the 7 Ocean Decade Outcomes? What do you think needs to happen under each of the 7 outcomes to achieve the ocean we want this decade?

Vancouver, BC | February 3-9, 2022

The 5th International Marine Protected Area Congress ( is coming up!  

ECOP Canada will be there to host and participate in workshops, talks, and activities in the #NatureforAll Youth Archipelago and networking events with our ocean partners in Canada and internationally:

  • Join ECOP Canada at the #NatureforAll Youth Archipelago in the Vancouver Convention Centre for a fun networking session & interactive workshop on how you and the diverse perspectives of fellow early career professionals can impact how we interact with the ocean during the Decade and beyond. Explore your role in the UN Ocean Decade with ECOP Canada.  Sunday, February 5th at 5:45pm – 7:00pm PT.  Save your spot and register here.
  • We are hosting ECOP and youth networking event with our partners after our workshop that will uplift the work of ocean leaders! 
  • We are supporting 15 ECOPs in Canada with travel, registration, and accommodation stipends to attend IMPAC5. Many thanks to the Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition for helping to support this incredible cohort of ECOPs with funding! 
  • Say hello to us and our ECOP Canada members at the #NatureforAll Youth Archipelago on February 4th and February 8th. 

Are you attending IMPAC5? Connect with us to share your plans and/or participate in ECOP networking activities. Email Ashley at

(c) Samantha Dimitraki
CZC 2023
Victoria, BC | June 11-14, 2023

Coastal Zone Canada is pleased to announce the dates and location for its next conference!

Click here to learn more about their Early Career Professionals Travel Grant. Applications close December 16th, 2023!

(c) Samantha Dimitraki
(c) Samantha Dimitraki
Montreal, QC | December 7-19, 2022

📣 UN Ocean Decade event @ #COP15!

🌀”An Ocean of Life” explored the challenges and opportunities to move from knowledge to action in marine and coastal ecosystems.

ECOP Fae Sapsford was part of the panel for: Marine and coastal biodiversity knowledge needs for policy and society in the context of the post 2020 global biodiversity framework – talking about her work with the Sargasso Sea Commission.

(c) Ashley Bowes
(c) Ashley Bowes
(c) Meg Callon

Hosted in Toronto, December 4 – 8, 2022, the ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting 2022 (ASM2022) is a hub for Arctic and northern research in Canada. Engaging with early career researchers at ArcticNet will ensure the voices of ECOPs from coast to coast to coast are strengthened and heard. 

🎉 Here are a few awesome highlights & achievements from our time at the conference: 🌊

  • We engaged with a lot of folks that had no information on the decade and informed them of opportunities to participate and strengthen their voice.
  • 38 early career researchers signed up as ECOP Canada members
  • We rocked our interactive workshop and collected perspectives on the Ocean Decade from around 50 early-career researchers
  • We gave out 1136 specially designed stickers of Narwhal, Humpback Whale, and Great Pacific Octopus.
  • ArcticNet’s ASM 2022 marked the first conference in which our ECOP Canada t-shirts made an appearance – we feel so official! 
  • We supported a Red River Metis-settler interdisciplinary researcher and beadwork artist, Danielle Nowosad by purchasing a handmade beaded pin of a water drop. This was our first prize giveaway to early career researchers who signed up for free ECOP Canada membership at our table.
  • We engaged many early career researchers who floated into the Ocean, Freshwater, and Us room to check out the giant floor map and augmented reality (AR) experience to explore marine environments and watersheds in Canada. Thanks to our partners at Ocean Week Canada, the Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition, and SOI Foundation for this successful collaboration.
  • We joined many incredible researchers and designs at the two poster sessions to present our poster on Early Career Ocean Professional Landscape in Canada: Needs, Beliefs and Ideas.
  • We were featured as special guests at Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the ORCA booth to engage participants on Canada’s Ocean Decade and ECOPs’ role in the Decade.
  • We helped fund the participation at ArcticNet’s ASM of 5 early-career researchers whose work focuses on the Arctic.
We hosted a Webinar: Postsecondary & Early Career Toolkit – How your talent can make an impact in the ocean sector with Ocean Networks Canada and Ocean Week Canada

Are you an early career professional or student looking to explore opportunities in the ocean sector?
On November 29th we hosted a webinar to learn more about the Postsecondary & Early Career toolkit, an online resource that features career pathways and professional networks in the ocean sector, as well as information on ocean health and sustainability.

(c) Samantha McBeth

Take the Survey

Calling all Early Career Ocean Professionals (ECOPs) in Canada we need you! We are on a mission to empower ECOPs with meaningful opportunities during the UN Ocean Decade. Take a few mins to voice your needs here.

Share Your Story

By sharing your story of why you became an oceanpreneur/innovator, we hope to empower post-secondary students and early career professionals from all interdisciplinaries to explore a career path (or side hustle) that will create a positive change for the ocean and support their own livelihoods. 

Ready to inspire others? Record a 1-2 minute video in English or French on Flipgrid here to tell us more about your story and advice to post-secondary students and early career professionals.

Join the Ocean Week Canada & Summer Ocean Festival Celebrations!

ECOP Canada is thrilled to be partnered with the Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition and 13 other incredible partner organizations for the Ocean Week Canada and Ocean Festival. This national celebration will create a surge of awareness about the ocean and strengthen our appreciation of the waterways that connect us, inland to the sea. Visit:

Are you a post-secondary student or early career professional? Head to the Learning Hub to check out the post-secondary and early career toolkit created in collaboration with Ocean Networks Canada and the Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition


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