Government of Canada makes significant investments in coastal research and restoration in New Brunswick through the Oceans Protection Plan

News release

May 7, 2019

Moncton, New Brunswick — Making our oceans and coasts safer, cleaner and healthier for all Canadians and future generations is a top priority for the Government of Canada.

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced today that the Maliseet Nation Conservation Council (MNCC) will receive more than $400,000 over four years for a Coastal Restoration Fund project to help restore Atlantic salmon fish habitat in Wolastoq, tributaries and coastal habitats in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The MNCC will identify and restore deteriorated fish habitat in the Wolastoq (Saint John River) watershed and associated coastal areas and also build the capacity of Maliseet people to undertake restoration work. A Wolastoq watershed-wide fish passage study will be conducted with the help of an external expert. The MNCC will then develop a plan to restore fish passage at sites throughout the watershed, which will include the restoration of deteriorated fish habitat at several sites. The restoration work will focus on the habitat of fish species that are of social, cultural and economic significance to Maliseet First Nations such as Atlantic salmon and American eel.

This project is funded through the Ocean Protection Plan’s Coastal Restoration Fund, which supports projects that contribute to healthier habitats for fish on all of Canada’s coasts with preference given to projects that are multiyear and involve a broad number of partners, including Indigenous groups.

Over the past two years, the Government of Canada has invested in three Coastal Restoration Fund projects in New Brunswick, which are making our marine safety system stronger and protecting our coastal environments and marine species more than ever before. Based on the latest science and technology, Indigenous partnerships and collaboration, these projects bring us closer to healthier, cleaner and safer oceans.

Minister Wilkinson also announced that the MNCC will receive $404,686 in Coastal Environmental Baseline Program investments over four years to investigate the basic ecology of the Atlantic Wolffish, the first known directed study of the species in the Bay of Fundy. The study will focus on behaviour, movements and habitat preferences of the Atlantic Wolffish as well as the potential effects of aquatic invasive species on prey availability. Satellite monitoring will provide additional information on the behaviour and movement patterns of wolffish.

Funding for this project comes from the Coastal Environmental Baseline Program, also part of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan. The program supports the advancement of data collection projects at six coastal pilot sites across Canada and involves close collaboration between Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, Indigenous and coastal communities, and other local partners.

This baseline data is critically important to our understanding of marine ecosystems and is essential to our ability to protect marine species and habitats into the future. The comprehensive data collected through this project will help detect changes over time and will also be used to inform decisions that could mitigate impacts on sensitive marine environments.

Quotes

“Our government is committed to protecting our coasts, which is why we’re implementing the Oceans Protection Plan. Coastal research and restoration projects are an opportunity to address threats to our ocean and coastal areas. I am pleased that our collaboration with the Maliseet Nation Conservation Council will ensure healthy, thriving coastal habitats in the Wolastoq River for future generations. Close partnerships with Indigenous and coastal communities are key to the success of these projects, as they have precious insights to share about the coastal areas their livelihoods depend upon.”

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

“Today’s announcement is great news for our coastal communities in Western New Brunswick and the beautiful Wolastoq river and its watershed. This investment from the Government of Canada will help restore coastal habitats in this region as well as foster collaboration between partners.”

 Wayne Long,  Member of Parliament for Saint John — Rothesay

“The largest watershed on the Northeastern Seaboard, the Wolastoq, or Saint John River, has been our home since time immemorial. The Wolustoqwiyik (Maliseet) have relied on Atlantic Salmon and other sea run fish forever. Our ancestral and traditional homeland includes the Bay of Fundy. Restoring and reconnecting with the coastal areas means the world to us. Through the Coastal Baseline Research project and the Coastal Restoration Fund, we return to our historical role in stewardship and sharing our expertise towards the monumental initiative to protect our coastal environment.”

Patricia Saulis, Executive Director, Maliseet Nation Conservation Council

Quick facts

  • The Maliseet Nation Conservation Council is a non-profit corporation created to increase the involvement of Maliseet people in the decision making processes in traditional territory – the Saint John River watershed and Bay of Fundy. The organization represents the six Maliseet First Nations in New Brunswick: Oromocto First Nation, St. Mary’s First Nation, Kings Clear First Nation, Woodstock First Nation, Tobique First Nation and Madawaska First Nation.

  • The largest watershed in Atlantic Canada, the Saint John River watershed is a huge region comprising an area of 54,000 km2 extending from the St. Lawrence in Quebec to the Bay of Fundy – a total distance of 673 kilometres.

  • Funding provided through the $75 million Coastal Restoration Fund is helping rehabilitate some of our most vulnerable coastlines and protect marine life and ecosystems.

  • The $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program will collect wide-ranging scientific data in six marine ecosystems identified as having high or potentially increasing 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 nine other Coastal Environmental Baseline projects in the Port of Saint John was announced in March 2019. Partners in the previously announced projects include Eastern Charlotte Waterways Inc., Fundy North Fishermen’s Association, Huntsman Marine Science Centre, Atlantic Coastal Action Program (ACAP) Saint John Inc., North Shore Micmac District Council – Anqotum Resource Management, Nature NB and the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Associated links

Contacts

Jocelyn Lubczuk
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard
343-548-7863
Jocelyn.Lubczuk@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
613-990-7537
Media.xncr@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

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