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The board chair of the Vancouver Aquarium works urgently for the health of the ocean

Early in her career as a biologist for Environment Canada, Janet Landucci would fly over dumpsites and logging operations to monitor harmful waste going into the Fraser River. She decided to get her commercial pilot’s license so she could fly the plane herself. When she finished her training she was five months pregnant. “Somebody said to me, ‘you might not be able to take the test because you’re a woman and they don’t have standards for pregnant female testing.’ And I said, ‘well let’s not tell them I’m pregnant. Let’s just go. I have to get this done.”
 
Now board chair of the Vancouver Aquarium, Landucci is still urgently working for the health of the ocean. She was asked to take the controls in the summer of 2014 during the contentious public debate over whether the aquarium should be allowed to keep whales in captivity. Landucci piloted the institution through the turbulence with her firm insistence on the value of marine research. “In a perfect world, everyone could see a healthy ocean and healthy animals, and you may not need to have animals in professional care. But we do not live in a perfect world. There’s pollution, there’s ocean acidification, there’s overfishing, there’s loss of habitat. We believe that we need to engage people to understand the facts, and to understand the importance of the science that happens at the aquarium so that we can protect the cetaceans that are in the wild.”
 
People listened to her, and the debate was resolved in her favour. In 2015, Landucci revamped the board, cutting the 34 members down to a more efficient and focused executive of 18. She has also continued to “grow the choir” with a new digital strategy aimed at reaching more people. “Because,” she says, “we need everybody on the planet to care about the oceans.” 

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