Government of Canada invests in research to help protect Atlantic fisheries and ecosystems 

News release

July 14, 2021 

Ottawa, Ontario - Protecting our aquatic species and oceans is critical to growing a blue economy for future generations. That is why the Government of Canada is investing in research to better protect and understand Canadian fish stocks and their habitats.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, announced more than $700,000 dollars in funding for oil spill and fisheries science research. This funding supports two projects, ranging from two to five years, that work toward better detecting and responding to oil spills and improving how we manage our fisheries sustainably. Dalhousie University received $112,500 over two years to develop two different types of underwater vehicles with special sensors designed to identify oil and oil by-products in water, after a marine oil spill and during response efforts. This project is funded under the Oceans Protection Plan’s Multi-Partner Research Initiative, which aims to ensure we have access to the best scientific information and methods available to respond to oil spills in Canadian waters.

The University also received $594,550 over five years to develop a new method to estimate the population size of Atlantic halibut based on their DNA to help understand how the species can be managed in a sustainable way. Results from this study can help to inform the application of this new approach to other fisheries. 

The data collected from the projects announced today will help us to support and protect our oceans and better manage our fisheries for the benefit of Canadians that rely on them.


“As an ocean nation, Canada is a global leader in aquatic science. We are proud to continue to advance the field of oceans protection and fisheries research. Investments in studies like these will help us better understand our marine ecosystems and how to protect them. That knowledge is critical to managing our fisheries, and building a stronger, more sustainable blue economy.”

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

“Research and innovation are key components in protecting our environment. Canada is dedicated to safeguarding our oceans and aquatic ecosystems in ways supported through science. Since 2016, projects under the Oceans Protection Plan like this have made our oceans and waterways more protected than ever before.”

The Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport

“Dalhousie has established itself as a world leader in ocean research. Our researchers are ensuring the protection and sustainable use of our oceans through innovative and multidisciplinary research. This funding from Fisheries and Oceans Canada will enhance our research on two important issues - the detection and characterization of oil spill residue and the sustainability of the Atlantic halibut population.”

Dr. Alice Aiken, Vice President Research and Innovation, Dalhousie University

Quick facts

  • 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.

  • In 2018, the Government of Canada announced amendments to the Fisheries Act that promoted restoration of degraded habitat, rebuilding of depleted fish stocks, and sustainability of Canada’s major fish stocks. The amended Act also provided for comprehensive protection of all fish and fish habitat, and strengthened the role of Indigenous peoples in project reviews and policy development, while recognizing that decisions can be guided by principles of sustainability, precaution and ecosystem management.

  • In December 2017, the Government of Canada announced the $45.5 million Multi-Partner Research Initiative to improve collaboration with oil response experts around the world, advance oil spill research in Canada, and minimize the environmental impacts of oil spills.

  • Canada’s blue economy and its future growth depend on the sustainable use and management of our ocean resources. A Blue Economy Strategy will enable us to protect and revitalize the health of our oceans while taking advantage of emerging economic growth opportunities throughout ocean sectors.

Associated links


Olivia McMackin
Press Secretary 
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard 

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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