The Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg, Manitoba houses several programs of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). It is a national centre of expertise in aquatic biology and freshwater and marine fisheries. In conjunction with the Bayfield Institute in Burlington, Ontario, the Freshwater Institute serves as a focal point of scientific research in the Central and Arctic Region and for fishery, fish habitat and oceans management programs that are operated primarily through area and district offices. Sharing building space with DFO at the Freshwater Institute are the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC). Extensive partnering with aboriginal groups, other government agencies, community groups, university researchers and private industry ensures an efficient and effective approach to research, management and problem solving.
Within the Region's jurisdiction - Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the north slope of the Yukon Territory - lies 73 percent of Canada's fresh water. The conservation of its aquatic life, a valuable and vulnerable asset, is a continuing responsibility. Using laboratories, the Experimental Lakes Area and other lake and river study sites in the Region, DFO environmental scientists conduct research on food webs, the effects of changes to fish habitat and surveillance of toxic chemicals in fish.
Canada's Arctic coastline is longer than the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada combined. DFO is responsible for protecting and conserving the inland, coastal and marine fisheries of the Arctic, including more than 300 fish stocks and 50 stocks of marine mammals. These conservation efforts must be solidly based on the scientific research carried out by DFO, as well as traditional ecological knowledge.
In the Arctic, DFO manages the fisheries primarily through co-management, a process that brings together local hunters and fishers, government agencies and public management boards to share responsibility for fishery resources. Together, DFO and other stakeholders develop and implement plans to ensure that fish and marine mammals are harvested at sustainable levels.
In Ontario and the Prairie Provinces, the provincial governments manage the fisheries, but DFO is responsible for fish habitat protection and fish health.
DFO administers the fish habitat provisions of the Fisheries Act, in particular those that are aimed at preventing the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat. This is done to conserve, restore and develop the productive capacity of habitats for recreational, commercial and food fisheries both in the freshwater and marine environments.
In keeping with its role as the lead federal authority for oceans management, DFO fosters a collaborative and partnering approach to oceans management through integrated management, marine protected area and marine environmental quality initiatives.
DFO provides a network of safe, public harbours serving commercial fishing and recreational boating. Responsibility for some of these commercial fishing harbours and recreational harbours is being transferred to local harbour authorities and municipalities.
Communications, Finance and Administration, Human Resources, Informatics and Policy staff at the Freshwater Institute provide support for the research and management programs.
For more information about the programs and activities of the Freshwater Institute, contact us at 501 University Cr., Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2N6; by phone at (204) 983-5000; or visit our regional website.