Government of Canada invests $1.2 million to help better understand Canada’s coastal marine ecosystems through science

News release

July 7, 2020 

Ottawa, Ontario - Canada’s marine ecosystems are vital to the livelihoods, well‑being and culture of countless Indigenous and coastal communities. Scientific research and data is critical to conserving and protecting these ecosystems. The Government of Canada is proud to work together with non-government organizations and communities to collect the crucial data that informs how we manage and protect these ecosystems.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, announced that the Government of Canada is investing $1.2 million to support the development of a web-based scientific data management system for integrating and sharing ocean science data.

The project, led by the St. Lawrence Global Observatory, will organize, standardize, manage, and disseminate data from coastal environmental baseline projects conducted by Canadian organizations. The Observatory will work closely with 39 partners from British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nunavut and Newfoundland and Labrador. The data to be collected from all three coasts will come from projects in six environments that are likely to be affected by increasing vessel traffic. This initiative will establish data management standards that will be useful to Canada’s marine science community.

This project is part of the $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program established under the Oceans Protection Plan. The Program supports advancing coastal data collection initiatives and relies on collaboration between Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, Indigenous and coastal communities, non-governmental organizations, academia and other local partners. Participating groups are gathering wide-ranging scientific data that will help characterize Canada’s coastal environment.

Collecting baseline data is crucial to our understanding of marine ecosystems and our capacity to protect species and their marine habitats for future generations. The data may also be used to inform decisions that impact sensitive marine environments.



“Science is at the foundation of every decision we make at DFO. If we are to succeed in protecting 25% of Canada’s oceans by 2025, we must have access to the very best science and research. That’s exactly why we are proud to fund this important project led by the St. Lawrence Global Observatory. It will increase our understanding of Canada’s coastal ecosystems and empower our government to take informed and effective action as we work to protect our oceans for generations to come.” 

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The St. Lawrence Global Observatory would like to thank Fisheries and Oceans Canada for providing this funding. We would also like to thank all of our partners for the trust they have placed in us over the last 15 years. Without their support, SLGO would not have been able to develop expertise that is recognized both nationally and internationally.”

Alain Arseneault, President of the St. Lawrence Global Observatory Board of Directors

“The SLGO team is pleased to take part in this major project and to accompany all these partners towards a better management of their data. Making the data standardized and available to all will promote the reuse of a very large number of these data for a better understanding of marine ecosystems for the benefit of future generations.”

Andréane Bastien, Director General of the St. Lawrence Global Observatory

Quick facts

  • In September 2017, the Government of Canada announced the $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program, which supports the collection of wide‑ranging scientific baseline data in six marine ecosystems with heavy or 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.

  • 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. 

  • The Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s oceans and waterways for future generations. With this plan, our marine safety system is stronger, and our coasts are better protected than ever before.

  • The St. Lawrence Global Observatory mission promotes the accessibility and sharing of quality data and information on ocean ecosystems. Created in 2005 by a group of federal and provincial government organizations, as well as academic and community organizations, it is the first integrated ocean observing system in Canada.

Associated links


Jane Deeks
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans
and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Ève M. Desrosiers
St. Lawrence Global Observatory

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