The Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources conducts a wide variety of applied research, ranging from short-term industrial response projects to several-year strategic initiatives. With a multi-disciplinary team of research and technical staff, the Centre conducts research across several research broad themes, including:

Fishing Gear Design and Testing

Trawl Simulation Centre for Sustainable Aquatic ResourcesThe development of fishing gears for the commercial fishing industry has changed dramatically over the last few decades.

Today's modern designs are more advanced and sophisticated as a result of increasing fuel costs, the need for species- and size-selectivity, stringent bycatch restrictions and the necessity to minimize impact on the environment.

CSAR staff use a combination of computer design, numerical simulation, physical modeling, flume tank performance testing, and direct observation at-sea using underwater cameras, acoustics, and trawl-mounted sensors.

Biological Resource Assessments

CSAR staff have conducted several biological resource assessments for under-utilized species found in the waters around Newfoundland and Labrador. Working with industry and government, our research staff have developed offshore sampling surveys, documented biological and morphological characteristics for species of interest, mapped population distributions and habitat preferences and provided scientific advice for sustainable exploitation.

Recent species include Atlantic hagfish, orange-footed sea cucumber and toad crab.

Fisheries Development

CSAR staff routinely assists with the development and modification of new and existing fisheries.

In many instances, this involves investigating the commercial viability through economic, biological and operational analysis of non-traditional fishing grounds and/or species.‌

Successful development of a new fishery requires a combination of resource assessments, new fishing gear design and testing, and harvester training.

Recent projects have included:

  • trap design and selectivity analysis for Atlantic hagfish
  • winter longline fishery for Greenland halibut on Baffin Island, Nunavut
  • exploratory fishing in Cumberland Sound, Nunavut
  • niche market development for pot caught cod on Fogo Island, Newfoundland
  • porcupine crab off the coast of Baffin Island
  • Northern stone crab on the south coast of Newfoundland
Fish Behaviour

CSAR staff have considerable experience in the study of animal behaviour in relation to fishing gear. Whether it be improvements in fishing gear efficiency, species and size selectivity, or the reduction of environmental impacts of fishing, almost every project requires detailed consideration on the behaviour of both targeted and non-targeted species.

Several factors are known to affect animal behaviour in relation to fishing gear.Stone Crab

These included factors intrinsic to the animal (e.g., species, size, condition, sex, experience, hunger), factors related to the environment (e.g., water temperature, depth, ambient light intensity, bottom currents, substrate type), as well as aspects related to the fishing gear itself (e.g., rigging and operation).

Using underwater cameras and acoustics, CSAR staff examine the behaviour of finfish and shellfish species in relation to fishing gear under both field and laboratory conditions.

The resulting video and data are then used to not just describe behaviour, but seek functional explanations for the patterns of behaviour observed.

In other words, ascertaining "why" animals choose a certain behavioural expression under certain conditions, and then using that knowledge to improve fishing gear performance.

Hydrodynamic Testing

The flume tank is an ideal test facility for evaluating the hydrodynamic performance of various structures and devices.

Recent examples include:

  • seismic vanes
  • oil and gas structures
  • hull designs
  • underwater intervention devices
  • AUV's
  • ROV's
  • gliders
  • marine turbines