Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research Receives Funding to Charter RV Celtic Explorer

The Newfoundland and Labrador provincial government continues to support the province’s fishing industry by funding leading-edge fisheries science initiatives through the Marine Institute’s Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research (CFER).

Vaughn Granter, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, announced $2.6 million to enable CFER to continue its operations and research activities, including the charter of an offshore fisheries research vessel, at the Marine Institute this morning. Granter was joined by Carey Bonnell, Head, School of Fisheries, Fisheries and Marine Institute and Dr. Peter Heffernan, CEO, Marine Institute (Ireland).

Newfoundland and Labrador remains the only province in Canada to solely fund its own offshore fisheries research. The funding being provided to CFER for 2016-17 will allow it to charter the Irish Marine Institute’s state-of-the-art fisheries research vessel, RV Celtic Explorer, for a sixth consecutive year to support its continued research and focus on surveys, stock assessments and sustainable fisheries; ecosystems structure and change, climate and fisheries influences; and, species biology, ecology and behaviour.

With this funding, CFER will continue to build on its world-class research for commercially relevant species off Newfoundland and Labrador and advance its work in training the next generation of fisheries scientists.

In 2016, CFER will conduct a 22-day survey in the waters of the North Atlantic adjacent to the province, focusing on critical research questions to support the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing industry. CFER scientists will focus their studies on the changing ecosystem and warming water temperatures in collaboration with scientists from Memorial University, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and with stakeholders in the local fishing industry.

The transatlantic crossing of the vessel will also allow the Marine Institute to continue its work with the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance to map the seafloor between St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and Galway, Ireland.

At the same event, the provincial government updated the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program. This year the program is supporting 18 new projects, through an investment of approximately $1 million, bringing the total number of projects approved under the program since its inception in 2007 to 300.

Since 2007, approximately $14 million has been invested through the Fisheries Technology and New Opportunities Program which has helped to leverage approximately $42 million in funding from other project partners to support research, development and new opportunities for harvesters, processors and fish farmers in all regions of the province. The program has led to significant collaboration between the Provincial Government, industry and academic institutions such as Memorial University’s Fisheries and Marine Institute.

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