CFER lands a $4.3-million federal-provincial investment
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The federal and provincial governments announced more than $5.7 million for research projects at the Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) and the Department of Ocean Sciences at Memorial University’s St. John’s campus.

MI’s Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research (CFER) received more than $4.3 million over five years to develop improved groundfish stock assessment models, evaluate the impact of ecosystem changes on the sustainability of important groundfish fisheries, and fill key knowledge gaps to contribute to fisheries eco-certification.Jonathan Wilkinson - main

The Department of Ocean Sciences, Faculty of Science at Memorial received more than $1.3 million to research solutions to sea lice.

As well, the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation received $4.5 million for a suite of projects to align industry priorities with research institution capacities to exploit new opportunities and solve current problems in the seafood sector.

The announcement was part of a federal-provincial Atlantic Fisheries Fund (AFF) investment of more than $18 million in 65 projects in Newfoundland and Labrador’s harvesting, processing and aquaculture sectors, science partnerships, and research and development projects.

Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, Premier Dwight Ball and provincial Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne made the announcement earlier this month at MI’s Ridge Road campus in St. John’s.

Significant investment

Dr. Rob Shea, MI’s associate vice-president (academic and student affairs), acknowledged the commitment of both levels of government to the Marine Institute.

“We are proud, in partnership with our government and industry partners, to help advance our fish and seafood industries and our growing oceans sector through our academic programs and through our research, community and industrial partnerships,” he said.

Tom Brown, director of CFER, welcomed the investment.Premier Dwight Ball - body

“We appreciate this significant investment from the Atlantic Fisheries Fund. It will enable CFER to contribute to the development of more sustainable fisheries and improve groundfish stock assessments through incorporation of spatial data collected from state-of-the-art fish tagging technologies and evaluating the impacts of climate change on fish ecosystems,” he said.

“It will also help us to continue building a network of science partnerships nationally, internationally and with key organizations such as Fisheries and Oceans Canada.”

New opportunities

The Atlantic Fisheries Fund is cost-shared between the federal and provincial governments. More than $400 million will be invested in Atlantic Canada over seven years to meet market demands for products that are high quality, value-added and sustainably sourced.

“This new funding means more innovation and jobs for communities right across Newfoundland. I am pleased that we are working with businesses and communities to grow our fisheries and ensure that they remain healthy for future generations,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.Gerry Byrne - body

“The Atlantic Fisheries Fund is creating new opportunities for provincial producers of sustainably sourced, high-quality fish and seafood products,” said Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“This latest round of investments provides important financial support to harvesters, processors, aquaculture operations, academia and other stakeholders throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, and reaffirms the federal government’s recognition of the important contribution the fishing and aquaculture industry plays in supporting and sustaining many rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Evolving fishing sector

Gerry Byrne, provincial Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources said the announcement sends a clear message to the province’s fishing sector.

“The sector in Newfoundland and Labrador is moving ahead and we are positioning the industry to respond to evolving and growing demands of consumers around the world,” he said.

“Enhancing the provincial fishing sector is a key component of our Way Forward strategy. We will continue to work with the federal government and industry stakeholders as we secure maximum benefits for the people and communities in Newfoundland and Labrador who rely on the fishery for their livelihood.”

CFER was created in 2010 to better understand fish stocks and the productivity of Newfoundland and Labrador’s marine ecosystem through fisheries research.

The centre’s mandate is: to focus research on the province’s fisheries and the sustainability of stocks; offer research and training opportunities to graduate students both locally and internationally; collaborate with the provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources and Fisheries and Oceans Canada for research activities and fisheries management; and collaborate with other researchers and institutions within Canada and worldwide.