“A true visionary in the world of aquariums and zoos,” Ocean Wise president and CEO, Dr. John Nightingale, announces his retirement

“We will miss his devotion, enthusiasm and expertise,” says
Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums Executive Director


Ottawa (May 2, 2018) — After almost a quarter century of leading one of the world’s finest aquatic institutions, Dr. John Nightingale will be stepping down as President and CEO of Ocean Wise and its initiative, the Vancouver Aquarium. He will be staying on until his replacement is in place, he announced Thursday.

“While his expertise has always been in getting people interested in the importance of oceans and aquatic life, he has also been single-minded in his pursuit of conservation,” Said Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums Executive Director, Dr. Susan Shafer. “Although we will miss his devotion, enthusiasm and expertise, he tells us he will continue to be a strong advocate for everything we do and that’s good to know.”

Dr. Nightingale’s role cannot be understated. While directing the institution’s leadership in conservation, education and research, he has focused on both sustainability and solid fiscal performance. Recently named as one of Canada’s “Greenest” Employers, Ocean Wise, now a $40 million operation with over 500 staff and 1100+ volunteers, is the only civic institution in Canada that is financially self-sufficient and operating without an annual government subsidy.

Visionary, creative and strategic. That’s how Greg Tarry, Dr. Nightingale’s colleague for more than two decades, describes him.

“He has been one of the few truly visionary people that I have had the opportunity to work with,” said Tarry, CAZA’s Associate Director. “I believe he was one of, if not the first, to pick up on the concept of needing to create and maintain our ‘social license’ to allow us to thrive and work on our mandates of animal welfare, conservation, science and education.  He recognized that the public perception of how we treat our animals is the cornerstone to our survival.”

Despite being a fierce defender of the aquarium in an environment that was often hostile as a result of animal-activist activity, he is very personable, says Tarry. “On retirement, he will leave big shoes to fill both at the Vancouver Aquarium and in CAZA.”

Founded in 1975, CAZA is the leading animal welfare standards-development organization in Canada. Its standards-development process includes expert opinions from researchers, biologists and academics to ensure the standards reflect the latest in animal-welfare research, organizational management and public-safety protocols. Through a science-based approach, CAZA’s standards bridge the ethical concerns regarding zoos and aquariums. These standards are currently the only pan-Canadian set of standards mandating zoological facilities in the country.

For More Information

Dr. Susan Shafer
Executive Director
Canada’s Accredited Zoos & Aquariums (CAZA)

613-627-3779 ext. 221


Back To Main


9 - 2020 Lanthier Drive
BOX 107, Orleans, Ontario
K4A 3V4

Site Map