MI to support Canada’s Ocean Supercluster project
Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University will support the $29-million Ocean Aware project announced Tuesday by Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (OSC).

Led by InnovaSea and its six industry partners, including Ocean Choice International, the Ocean Aware project aims to develop and commercialize world-class solutions for monitoring fish health, fish movement and the environment, and to support both profitable and sustainable practices in the ocean.

Through MI’s Centre for Fisheries Ecosystem Research (CFER), researchers will develop an acoustic tagging program for flatfish, such as American plaice, and continue to advance models used in fish stock assessments. The data collected will also assist in exploring predictive fishing models to reduce bycatch and support sustainable fishing practices.Jin Gao

“The Fisheries and Marine Institute is proud to play our role in supporting the Ocean Aware project. The project will lead to key innovations in fish tracking technology and data gathering that will support our modelling of fish movement that can be used for sustainable fisheries. This work is critical for advancements in fish stock assessment,” said Tom Brown, Director of CFER. “These efforts are supported by our Ocean Choice International Research Chair in Stock Assessment and Sustainable Harvest Advice for Northwest Atlantic Fisheries.”

The research team includes Dr. Jin Gao with the OCI Research chair and CFER researchers Dr. Arnault Le Bris and Dr. Jonathan Fisher. MI fisheries biologist Susan Fudge will be the project manager for the acoustic tagging program. A new research associate, post-doctoral fellow and graduate students enrolled in the MI Fisheries Science programs will also be involved in the project.

Ocean Choice International

“We are pleased to be a partner in the Ocean Aware project, and to be working with global industry leaders in innovation and technology from Atlantic Canada and with the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University to build new spatial stock assessment models to support sustainable fisheries,” said Martin Sullivan, CEO of Ocean Choice.

“It is extremely important to Ocean Choice that we invest in finding new innovative solutions for smarter fishing. Projects such as this, will allow us to better understand species distribution and movement between stock boundaries that will ultimately lead to more predictive fishing models where we can optimize performance within a sustainability framework.”

Industry partners InnovaSea, Emera, Nova Scotia Power, Ocean Choice, Irving Shipbuilding, Dartmouth Ocean Technologies and Xeos Technologies will invest $15.7 million in the project, while OSC will contribute $13.74 million. Also supporting the project are the Ocean Tracking Network, Dalhousie University and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Martin Sullivan

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster

“The Ocean Aware project is a game-changing project that demonstrates the transformational opportunities we have in ocean innovation when we bring partners from across ocean sectors together. This will create significant benefits for Canadians now and for generations to come. To bring this to fruition while we continue to see the impacts of a global pandemic only adds to its significance,” said Kendra MacDonald, CEO of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster.

Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is an industry-led group that aims to increase collaboration and data exchange across ocean sectors, create a platform for the development for commercial sustainable ocean solutions, build an inclusive and highly-capable workforce, and continue to drive resiliency in the oceans.