Government of Canada invests $1.1 million for coastal research in the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick

News release

March 14, 2019

Saint John, New Brunswick — Canada’s coasts are home to vitally important fisheries and marine ecosystems. They provide valuable tourism and recreational opportunities, while creating a critical connection between land and sea that enables trade between Canada and distant ports through safe and responsible shipping. They support the livelihood, well-being and cultural heritage of numerous Indigenous and coastal communities.

To provide even greater opportunities for Canadians today while protecting our coasts for the heirs of tomorrow, we need a long-term scientific outlook supported by wide-ranging coastal environmental baseline data. This information will enable scientists to identify changes in our coastal environments and long-term impacts of human activities, such as shoreline development and marine transportation.

To help achieve these goals, the Member of Parliament for Saint John – Rothesay, New Brunswick, Wayne Long, on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced today in Saint John, New Brunswick, that the Government of Canada is investing an additional $1.1 million in five marine environmental data collection projects in the Port of Saint John through the Coastal Environmental Baseline Program, which is part of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan.

These projects, which fall under the $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program, will support the advancement of coastal data collection projects and involve close collaboration between Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, Indigenous and coastal communities, and other local partners. Participating groups will gather comprehensive data that will help detect changes in our marine environment over time.

The four organizations receiving funding announced today include Atlantic Coastal Action Program Saint John, Nature NB, Nature Conservancy of Canada, and North Shore Micmac District Council – Anqotum Resource Management.

Under this initiative, the recipients will gather data on a variety of factors to better track the health of the ecosystem in the Port of Saint John. The projects will look at water quality in nearshore areas, harbour seal numbers and distribution, the state of coastal and tidal wetlands, invasive parasites in threatened migratory fish, shorebird and seabird abundance and distribution (as indicators of the state of the marine environment) and environmental contaminants resulting from human activities.

Once collected, this baseline data will be critically important to our understanding of marine ecosystems and essential to our ability to protect marine species and habitats into the future. The data will also be used to inform decisions that could impact on sensitive marine environments.


“The Coastal Environmental Baseline Program is about collaborating with the very people who’ve made a living from fishing, shipping, tourism, recreation and other maritime activities along our coasts for generations. These First Nations and maritime communities know our shores better than anyone else. They have the most to gain by keeping a watchful eye over and protecting the health of the coastal ecosystems that give them life.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“Coastal areas play an essential social, economic and ecological role in many of Canada’s most flourishing communities. More than 25 percent of our population lives on Canada’s coasts, and we must be steadfast in our resolve to monitor and minimize our environmental impacts on these sensitive areas. The baseline data gathered through this community-based science initiative will help us conserve and restore coastal areas in the Port of Saint John and other key area of high vessel traffic in Canada.”

Wayne Long, Member of Parliament for Saint John – Rothesay, New Brunswick

Quick facts

  • In September 2017, the Government of Canada announced the $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program to collect wide-ranging baseline scientific data in six marine ecosystems with high vessel traffic and coastline development: the Port of Vancouver, BC; the Port of Prince Rupert, BC; the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary, QC; the Port of Saint John, NB; Placentia Bay, NL; and Iqaluit, NU.

  • Funding for four other marine environmental data collection projects for the Port of Saint John was announced on March 7th. Partners in the previously announced projects include Eastern Charlotte Waterways Inc., Fundy North Fishermen’s Association and Huntsman Marine Science Centre.

  • The Coastal Environmental Baseline Program is one of many actions the Government of Canada is taking to safeguard our coasts and waterways under the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan. This national plan will establish a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while ensuring our coastlines are healthier, safer and better protected for future generations.

Associated links


Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary 
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard 

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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