Healthy Oceans. Healthy Communities.

Karen Wristen joins Living Oceans Society as Executive Director

April 18, 2012

Living Oceans Society is pleased to announce the appointment of Karen Wristen as the new Executive Director of the marine conservation organization. Karen takes the reins from Jennifer Lash, outgoing founder and Executive Director, who now heads the Sisu Institute.

Karen holds a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School and has extensive experience in non-profit management and development. She has been an advocate for oceans and fisheries issues for over 17 years and a member of the Board of Directors of Living Oceans since its inception in 1998.

Prior to accepting this appointment, Karen provided consulting and management services to a wide variety of non-profit environmental and social justice organizations. She practised environmental law with Ecojustice (then Sierra Legal Defence Fund), where her extensive experience in strategic litigation included cases on behalf of public interest environmental groups, First Nations and other civil society groups. She has worked effectively in multi-stakeholder processes to achieve legislative reform and policy development, and has consulted internationally on strategic program development.

"My background in advocacy, negotiation and public speaking will be useful to the organization as we continue our leadership role in the effort to protect Canada's Pacific coast," Karen said. "I look forward to the challenge of taking on this position at a time when Canada's environmental laws are coming under unprecedented attack by the Harper government."

Karen will split her time between Living Oceans' home office in Sointula, on the Central Coast of British Columbia, and its Vancouver branch. Living Oceans is the largest organization in Canada focusing exclusively on marine conservation and advocates for oceans that are managed for the common good, according to science-based policies that consider ecosystems in their entirety.

Karen is very involved in her community of Bowen Island where she has volunteered as a member of several municipal advisory groups and non-profits. She currently chairs both the Bowen Island Heritage Preservation Association and the Bowen Agricultural Alliance.



  • Karen Wristen