Government of Canada invests in coastal research in the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick

News release

September 6, 2019

Saint John, New Brunswick  - Canada is an ocean nation. With the longest coastline in the world, from the Pacific, to the Arctic, to the Atlantic, we are blessed with an incredible diversity of marine ecosystems. Our shores are vital to the lives, well-being and culture of all Canadians, including almost 7 million coastal inhabitants. They are home to valuable fisheries and countless marine species. Our waters support the recreation, tourism, and shipping activities that drive our economy.

Conserving Canada’s coastal environments while promoting a healthy economy means making well-informed decisions based on sound science. It calls for environmental baseline data that allows us to monitor long-term changes in coastal ecosystems, including the impacts of human activities such as shipping, fishing, tourism and shoreline developments. 

To help achieve these important goals, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced today that the Government of Canada is investing more than $290,000 in two marine environmental data collection projects in the Port of Saint John through the Coastal Environmental Baseline Program. The two organizations receiving funding announced today are the Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick and the Passamaquoddy Recognition Group Inc. (Peskotomuhkati Nation).

Funded as part of the $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program, under the Government of Canada’s historic $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, these projects involve close collaboration between Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, universities and environmental organizations. With this collaborative work we are gathering the wide-ranging baseline data needed to characterize coastal environments and detect long-term changes in the study areas, including gaining a better understanding of climate change impacts.

The new investment in these two projects from the Government of Canada will paint a clearer picture on the status of the coastal ecosystems and environmental conditions in the Port of Saint John. The projects will characterize the current state of the coastal ecosystem of the Port of Saint John based on water sampling and contaminant analysis in caged blue mussels; and data on the possible presence and amount of microplastics in American Lobster.

The Government of Canada understands that we cannot pass off protecting our coasts and our environment to the next generation. We are taking real action now to ensure that our children and grandchildren will not only have access to the world-renowned nature across our country, but to ensure that they benefit from sustainable jobs and economic growth on our waters and coasts.


“The Coastal Environmental Baseline Program is about collaborating with 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. We must be steadfast in our resolve to monitor and minimize our environmental impacts on these sensitive areas. The baseline data gathered through these community-based science initiatives 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

  • Funding for 10 other marine environmental data collection projects in the Port of Saint John was announced last spring. Partners in the previously announced projects include: Atlantic Coastal Action Program (ACAP) Saint John Inc.; Eastern Charlotte Waterways Inc.; Fundy North Fishermen’s Association; Huntsman Marine Science Centre; Maliseet Nation Conservation Council; Nature Conservancy of Canada; Nature NB; and North Shore Micmac District Council – Anqotum Resource Management.

  • The $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program, part of Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan, is helping to collect wide-ranging 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 St. Lawrence Estuary, QC; the Port of Saint John, NB; Placentia Bay, NL; and Iqaluit, NU.

  • Coastal baseline data is 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 sensitive marine environments.

  • The Coastal Environmental Baseline Program is one of many actions the Government of Canada is taking to safeguard our coasts and waterways under the 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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