Maurice Lamontagne Institute, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Quebec Region

Backgrounder

Located in Mont-Joli, Quebec, on the shores of the St. Lawrence Estuary, the Maurice Lamontagne Institute is part of a network of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) research centres. Inaugurated in 1987, it is one of the world's major francophone marine sciences centres.

It employs some 300 people in two large sectors: ocean science and aquatic ecosystems management. There is also a maintenance shop for Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) vessels.

The mission this multidisciplinary team is to provide the federal government with a thorough scientific basis for the conservation and sustainable management of marine resources and aquatic ecosystems, marine environment protection and safe navigation. Most work is conducted in and around the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Saguenay Fjord, Hudson Bay and Hudson Strait; in addition some activities, on the protection of fisheries and aquatic species at risk, cover freshwater ecosystems.

The work of teams at the Institute focuses on monitoring the status of the ecosystem and biodiversity. These activities include research on aquatic invasive species, fish stocks and marine mammals, and ocean ecosystem dynamics. Work is also carried out on climate change and environmental stressors, the impact of human activity on the environment, and research on species at risk. Forecasting and monitoring of water levels, mapping and the use of Web services in connection with hydrographic needs for navigation round out the areas of activity. The national Centre of Expertise on Marine Mammals is also located at the Institute and is staffed by DFO science personnel.

Teams work on implementing both the Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act, in freshwater and in marine environments, and the Oceans Act for the protection of aquatic species and their habitat, the protection and recovery of aquatic species at risk, and the development of a network of marine protected areas in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence: by providing expert advice in DFO’s areas of responsibility, these teams also support the federal environmental assessment process under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

Many publications, technical reports and scientific data as well as numerous regulatory services and products related to navigation are generated by the Institute and disseminated on the websites of the Department, the Canadian Hydrographic Service and the St. Lawrence Global Observatory.

Cutting‑edge projects are carried out in cooperation with the fishing, aquaculture and commercial shipping industries and with pilot associations, port authorities, non‑governmental organizations, universities and research centres in Canada and abroad.

 

Scientific facilities

 

The Maurice Lamontagne Institute covers an area of 25,000 square metres and has over 70 labs for research in biology, oceanography, hydroacoustics, physical sea condition modelling, and biochemical and ecosystemic modelling. It also has a genetic testing lab, a dissection room and rooms for hydrography, mapping and remote sensing work.

The tank room is a specialized wet lab measuring more than 2,000 square metres that can hold tanks of varying sizes as well as high‑tech equipment. Salt water comes directly from the St. Lawrence. Experimental studies on the reproduction, physiology and behaviour of marine species and ecosystems are conducted in this lab. This wet laboratory, one of the largest of its type in Canada, accommodates large‑scale experimental studies, which is essential for conducting testing, validation and controls of observed and monitored environmental conditions.

In addition, seven controlled‑environment units are available for research as part of smaller‑scale experiments on various topics, including the acidification of marine waters.

Our scientists rely on four scuba diving teams made up of twenty experienced divers with certified modern equipment for work in cold coastal areas (-2 to 20°C) at depths of up to 40 metres.

The Institute’s scientists have access to a fleet of Canadian Coast Guard vessels and helicopters. Two vessels are dedicated to scientific research in oceanography and fishery science.

The research centre also houses the 250‑seat Estelle‑Laberge auditorium and various meeting rooms.

June 2017

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