Jean Lemire

Chief of mission

A biologist by training, Jean Lemire has crisscrossed the world’s oceans for the past several decades. As an associate scientist with the University of Hawaii and the Mingan Island Cetacean Study, his knowledge of whales led to his participation in numerous international research projects.

In 1987, he started a parallel career as a filmmaker. He has written, produced, and directed numerous documentaries on marine mammals, the ocean world, art, and nature.

In 2001, he joined a handful of dreamers to refit an old fishing trawler into a floating production studio, which they rechristened Sedna IV. He subsequently led Arctic Mission, a daring expedition in which he and a team of scientists and filmmakers ventured into the formidable but fragile ice of the Arctic on a memorable voyage that took the Sedna IV from Montréal to Vancouver. At the time, she was only the seventh sailboat in history to make the legendary Northwest Passage from east to west. Arctic Mission sounded the alarm on the disastrous consequences of climate change on the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

In 2004, he led the expedition Whale Mission, in search of the last of the great whales threatened with extinction.

Then in 2005, he set off on a voyage to discover the last continent, the Antarctic. Antarctic Mission would become one of the great expeditions of modern times, spanning 430 days of sailing, isolation, and extreme adventure in the uncompromising climate of the Antarctic.

The films made on the Sedna IV’s expeditions have enjoyed remarkable success and set new standards in the field. The Last Continent became the most successful feature documentary in the history of Québec cinema. These productions have been distributed worldwide and have earned numerous prizes and awards.

Jean Lemire has also written of his Antarctic adventure in two books. Mission Antarctique and Le dernier continent both enjoyed exceptional success in bookstores.

Returning from the Antarctic, he took advantage of the unparalleled popularity of the mission to launch an awareness campaign and actions to fight climate change. It would become Québec’s biggest environmental public awareness campaign ever.

Jean Lemire has garnered many prizes and awards for his contributions to science communication and to raising awareness about climate change through the extraordinary media coverage and educational impact of his missions. Among others, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada and received the prestigious Citation of Lifetime Achievement of the Canadian Environment Awards upon his return from the Antarctic. In October 2010, during the COP-10 conference (Conference of the Parties) in Nagoya, Japan, he was awarded the MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity, which honours three individuals who have made exceptional contributions on a global scale to the cause of biodiversity. The same year, the United Nations named him Honorary Ambassador for The Green Wave, a global campaign to raise awareness about biodiversity among young people.
Jean is now back at the helm as mission leader of the Sedna IV’s most ambitious mission yet, 1000 Days for the Planet. He and his crew will sail around the world to document the incredible beauty and wealth of the species living on earth and to raise public awareness of the need to care for and protect them.

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