Mark Loria, left, has announced his departure as executive director of the Shaw Centre for the Slaish Sea in Sidney. (File)

Mark Loria, left, has announced his departure as executive director of the Shaw Centre for the Slaish Sea in Sidney. (File)

Sidney’s aquarium of the Salish Sea looking for new executive drector

Mark Loria announces his departure after three years

Mark Loria has announced his departure as executive director of the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea in Sidney.

In a letter emailed to “donors, partners and friends” on March 21, Loria stated that his last day on the job will be April 21 of this year. Holding the position in an interim capacity will be Deputy Director, Operations, Deanna Mathewson.

Loria has been the executive director at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea for three years. Under his tenure, the Centre redesigned its website, renovated its space and underwent a rebranding from its previous identity as the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. The change saw the Centre adopt more of an emphasis on the Salish Sea and the First Nations that surround it.

In his letter, over that time the Centre saw an increase in visitors of 10 per cent and a membership program that they had started in 2016, grow by 60 per cent to 8,500 members. An additional $250,000 was raised from the community for project funding related to education programs and experience upgrades.

Coming up next at the Centre will be new displays about the Salish Sea and the second of two Coast Salish indigenous art installations. A First Nations art collection is also part of the Centre’s ongoing commitment to enhance people’s knowledge of the culture and traditions of the First Peoples of the Salish Sea.

“I believe we have become a true leader on Vancouver Island in the learning, exploration and conservation of the Salish Sea Bioregion,” Loria wrote.

“I would like to thank all of the volunteers who have dedicated their time and skills as board members and especially to those many Salish Sea Explorers who interact with our visitors on a daily basis — the Centre could not operate without you.”

Loria was the Centre’s third executive director since 2013, after founding executive director Angus Matthews departed.

RELATED: Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre’s founding member is moving on.

Matthews was replaced by Alison Barratt in March, 2014.

RELATED: New challenges for aquarium’s director.

Loria replaced Barratt one year later, in July of 2015, after serving as Development Director.