Session: The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and Canada’s Submission
Speaker: Mary-Lynn Dickson
Day: Thursday March 2nd
Time: 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Room: Canada Hall 1, Shaw Centre

Mapping Canada’s Extended Continental Shelf in the Arctic Ocean: The Final Frontier

Canada ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 2003 and is obligated to delineate its extended continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. In 2013 a partial submission was filed with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for the Atlantic Ocean which defined the extended continental shelf off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, encompassing a total area of 1.2 million square kilometers of ocean bottom.  Future international recognition of this new boundary will give Canada jurisdiction over the living and non-living resources on and below the seafloor.  At the time of the Atlantic submission Canada indicated that a future filing for the Arctic Ocean would be forthcoming.  Between 2007 and 2016 mapping the seafloor in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean was conducted, presenting unique logistical, operational and technical challenges involving the use of ice camps, autonomous underwater vehicles and heavy duty icebreakers.   The practical aspects of conducting scientific surveys in this remote, harsh and geologically complex environmental setting will be discussed, some exciting preliminary findings will be shared, and the next steps in delineating Canada’s last international boundary will be presented.

Mary-Lynn Dickson

Mary-Lynn joined Natural Resources Canada in 2015 as the Director of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Program, located at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She is responsible for the management and leadership of the UNCLOS Program that is mapping the full extent of Canada’s extended continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in the Arctic Ocean and will submit Canada’s new outer limits to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.  Mary-Lynn holds degrees from Dalhousie University (BSc Hons.), Memorial University of Newfoundland (MSc) and Oregon State University (PhD). Prior to joining Natural Resources Canada, she was a research scientist whose work focused on understanding how climate change may affect the biological carbon pump in the oceans, and spent 800 days working at sea. Later, she held research management positions at universities in Canada and the United States. Mary-Lynn participated on the 2015 Canadian Polar Expedition and was Chief Scientist of the 2016 Canada-Sweden Polar Expedition, the final UNCLOS ocean mapping survey in the Arctic Ocean.

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