Government of Canada invests in research to study the effects of contaminants on aquatic ecosystems in Atlantic Canada

News release

March 29, 2021                                    

Ottawa, Ontario - The Government of Canada is further investing in research to better inform the protection of our oceans, lakes, rivers and waterways, and the many species that call them home. The unfortunate reality is that microplastics, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and oil- and gas-related contaminants enter our water systems due to human activity. This means we must continue to study and understand the threats that our ecosystems face.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, announced it will provide $600,000 in research funding over two years to the Huntsman Marine Science Centre. The project will study how contaminants related to oil spills impact Atlantic marine species including lobster, sea urchins and cod. This project is funded under the Oceans Protection Plan’s Fate, Behaviour, and Effects Initiative, which aims to better understand oil spill behaviour so we can better inform the protection of our waterways against its biological effects.

The Government of Canada will continue to invest in science and research to understand what our oceans, lakes, rivers, and waterways need to sustain the countless lifeforms that call them home. When we better understand a problem, we are better equipped to address it. Whether it is studying how contaminants impact the iconic species that Canadians love, like whales, or their impact on the species we harvest, like lobster, today’s investment will help collect the data and information needed to keep Canada’s waterways healthy for generations to come.


“With some of the world’s richest marine ecosystems and fisheries, Atlantic Canada is well-positioned to be a world leader in the emerging blue economy. It is critical that we study and understand all threats, including contaminants, to our aquatic ecosystems to ensure that these bodies of water can continue to sustain the countless resources and livelihoods they generate. Today’s investments will strengthen Canada’s blue economy and ensure all our decisions continue to be grounded in science and sustainability.”

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

“Through the Oceans Protection Plan, we are building a marine safety system with stronger protections for marine species than ever before. We're accomplishing this by bringing together science, technology and traditional knowledge to protect Canada’s unique coastal ecosystem from coast-to-coast-to-coast. The results of these research projects will help us further protect the marine ecosystem, our communities and our economy.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport

“Our government is committed to investing in research to better protect our aquatic ecosystems. In St. Andrews New Brunswick this funding will allow The Huntsman Marine Science Centre to assess the impact of exposure time, temperature and photo-oxidation on the toxicity of individual polycyclic aromatic compounds in several Atlantic marine species. This research will benefit Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”

The Honourable Dominic Leblanc, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

“The Huntsman Marine Science Centre is very pleased to use our extensive toxicology expertise and experience culturing commercially important aquatic species to contribute to the understanding of biological effects associated with oil spills on all three coasts of Canada. This specific project will explore the toxicological effects of individual components of oil and improve our knowledge of how environmental factors, like temperature and UV exposure, can modify toxicity.”

Dr. Benjamin de Jourdan, Research Scientist (Toxicology), Huntsman Marine Science Centre

Quick facts

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Science Sector funds research on the biological effects of contaminants. 

  • The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. This national plan is creating a stronger marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coastlines and clean water for generations to come. This work is being done in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities. 

  • Since the Oceans Protection Plan started in November 2016, over 50 initiatives have been announced in the areas of marine safety, research and ecosystem protection that span coast-to-coast-to-coast. The Fate, Behaviour and Effects Initiative supports research on oil spill behaviour, its biological effects and potential mitigation measures.

  • Minister Jordan launched the engagement on Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy on February 8, 2021. The World Bank defines the blue economy as the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health. Canada’s ocean sectors contribute approximately $31.7 billion annually in gross domestic product and account for close to 300,000 jobs.

Related products

Associated links


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

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Stay connected

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: