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Big boost

Ocean Frontier Institute invests $25 million in ocean research projects


By Patti Lewis

Fifteen ocean research projects based in Atlantic Canada have received more than $25 million in funding.

The investment is expected to advance understanding of atmospheric and ecosystem change while also identifying ways to grow resource development in a sustainable way.

‘Transformative’ work

The investment in ocean research, made possible through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund and distributed by the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI), enables teams at Memorial University, Dalhousie University and the University of Prince Edward Island to study ocean-related issues in the North Atlantic and the Canadian Arctic Gateway, which includes the Labrador Sea and eastern portions of the straits of the Canadian Arctic archipelago.

Projects include work to understand ocean change and help improve the potential for fisheries and aquaculture to meet global seafood demand.

“While the work of our researchers will be transformative, it’s the way in which we’re getting the job done that makes us so unique,” said Dr. Paul Snelgrove, associate scientific director, OFI.

“The research brings together the best ocean researchers that Atlantic Canada has to offer —  academia, industry and government — collaborating and working side by side. And we’re also partnering with some of the best ocean research institutes in the world to tap into their expertise and facilities. Together, we will advance our understanding of ocean change and identify solutions for the safe and sustainable management of our marine resources. These solutions will generate broad benefits for all.”

Some Memorial research projects underway

A key scientific and socio-economic challenge confronting Canada’s seafood industry is demonstrating that fisheries are sustainable, an important requirement to maintain and gain new access to international fish markets.

The Sustainable Capture Fisheries and their Ecosystems project is co-led by Drs. Noel Cadigan, Paul Winger and Jonathan Fisher at the Marine Institute.

From left, Drs. Jonathan Fisher; Noel Cadigan; and Paul Winger.
From left are Drs. Jonathan Fisher, Noel Cadigan and Paul Winger.
Photo: Marine Institute

Understanding stakeholder expectations is key to a research project titled Social Licence and Planning in Coastal Communities, co-led by Dr. Charles Mather, Department of Geography, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Dr. Charles Mather
Dr. Charles Mather
Photo: Submitted

A full summary of all research projects that have received funding is available online.

This funding announcement reflects only a portion of OFI’s work. A second phase of large research projects is expected to begin in 2019.

In addition, OFI is funding the construction of new research facilities and supporting various programs to advance education and training in ocean-related fields.

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