Canadian government acts to advance fisheries and aquaculture research

The Government of Canada has announced CA$8.8 million funding for research
May 20, 2009

Canadian government acts to advance fisheries and aquaculture research
The Government of Canada has announced funding for research to keep the Canadian fisheries and aquaculture industries competitive and sustainable.

"These research projects will boost the global competitiveness, productivity and environmental performance of this important Canadian industry," said Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Gail Shea. "Research and development creates jobs, strengthens the economy and improves the quality of life of Canadians. That's why Canada's Economic Action Plan includes a $5.1-billion dollar investment in science and technology initiatives."

The $8.8 million funding announced today is part of a new five-year initiative, led by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), to support industry-driven research and development (R&D) in fisheries and aquaculture.

This funding, spread over three years, will support 23 strategic research projects in fisheries and aquaculture at universities across Canada. For example, researchers at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby will study how the seafloor reacts to disturbances caused by fishing gear. Funding supplied to the Memorial University of Newfoundland will support research into early detection and better understanding of invasive aquatic species.

These projects will train students in a wide variety of disciplines related to fisheries and aquaculture.

"In addition to generating new knowledge and technologies for our fisheries and aquaculture sector, this initiative will help train the students who will drive innovation for years to come," said Dr. Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC. "We are ensuring a bright future for this vital, historical industry."

In the previous three budgets, the Government of Canada provided over $2 billion in new funding for S&T. In Canada's Economic Action Plan, we are investing more than $5.1 billion in new funding toward S&T initiatives. This represents one of the single-largest federal investments in S&T to date. Together these measures will contribute to the creation of a stronger, more innovative economy and a more prosperous Canada.

NSERC is a federal agency whose vision is to help make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports some 26,500 university students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies.

The priority aquaculture areas to be covered by this initiative were identified in consultation with representatives from the fisheries and aquaculture industries, government agencies (including the Department Fisheries and Oceans), academia and other stakeholders. These areas are:

- Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (a practice in which by-products or wastes from one species are recycled into fertilizer or food for another.)

- Ecosystem health/environmental interactions

- Fish and shellfish health/wellness

- Technological advances

- Genetics and husbandry

Capture fisheries projects focus on operational efficiency and technology development and on strategic issues in resource and ecosystem sustainability (including enhanced knowledge of habitats and ecosystems; ecosystem impacts of fishing; and ecosystem-based management practices and resource enhancement initiatives).

The breakdown of institutions, number of research projects and funding is as follows:

Eastern Canada

- Memorial University of Newfoundland (St. John's, NL): 6 projects, $2.25 million

- University of New Brunswick (Saint John, NB): 2 projects, $702,070

- Dalhousie University (Halifax, NS): 1 project, $466,000

- Nova Scotia Agricultural College (Truro, NS): 1 project, $389,948

- Saint Mary's (Halifax, NS): 1 project, $410,036

- University of PEI (Charlottetown, PE): 1 project, $368,261


- Universite du Quebec a Montreal (Montreal): 1 project, $340,950

- Laval University (Quebec City): 1 project, $382,500


- University of Guelph (Guelph): 2 projects, $697,040

- Carleton University (Ottawa): 1 project, $587,600

- University of Toronto (Toronto): 1 project, $461,000

British Columbia

- Vancouver Island University (Nanaimo): 1 project, $413,417

- Simon Fraser University (Burnaby): 2 projects: $577,146

- University of Victoria (Victoria): 2 projects, $803,884


More than 30 public and private sector partners are involved with the approved research projects, including Department of Fisheries and Oceans. They are providing an additional $7.4 million in in-kind support and $716,000 in cash to support these projects.