More than 1,500 global leaders in marine mammalogy are coming to Nova Scotia and the new Halifax Convention Centre in 2017 for the international society’s biennial conference. The Society for Marine Mammalogy announced Halifax as the host city today, June 8, in honour of World Oceans Day. This is the first time the conference will be hosted in Atlantic Canada. “This conference will provide a valuable opportunity for our scientists and others who work for the good of marine mammals to better understand the challenges and opportunities for survival these species face in our oceans today,” said Gail Shea, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. The Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals will connect experts across government, industry, business and academia to promote collaboration and information sharing. “We’re proud to partner with our local researchers to help bring this conference to Halifax and our new state-of-the-art convention centre,” said Scott Ferguson, president and CEO of Trade Centre Limited, the Crown corporation tasked with marketing and selling the Halifax Convention Centre. “Events like this highlight the cutting-edge work of our ocean experts and put our province on the world stage.” The successful bid was led by local scientists with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Marine Animal Response Society, together with the Halifax Convention Centre, last September. “We’re very excited that Halifax was chosen to host this prestigious gathering of marine mammal researchers from across the world,” said Tonya Wimmer, biologist, Marine Animal Response Society and local chair for the 2017 Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. “It will be a terrific opportunity to not only learn about innovative and critical research being conducted globally, but also to highlight our city and the high-quality research being conducted right here.” The seven-day event will feature a series of speakers, workshops and poster sessions focused on marine mammal research, conservation and improving the quality of marine research within the scientific community. Delegates will gain exposure to Nova Scotia’s rich ocean expertise, including the region’s advancements in acoustics, behaviour, sensors, instrumentation and other ocean-based research. Nova Scotia is home to the world’s highest concentration of scientists in ocean-related subjects, including Canada’s largest ocean-related research institution, the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. The 2015 Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals will be held in San Francisco before leaders in the field from around the world make their way to Halifax in 2017.