Partnership Fund

New Science Investments at Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Budget 2016)

As part of the Government of Canada’s new investments in science, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has established a Partnership Fund that provides $5 million per year in support of collaborative research and increasing collective understanding of our oceans and freshwater.

This is managed by the Department’s Office of Partnership and Collaboration. It will support new partnerships and collaborations within the ocean and freshwater sciences community (including universities, aquatic research networks, environmental organizations, Indigenous groups and other stakeholders, both in Canada and abroad). These partnerships will contribute to the best available science that will support decision-making about Canada’s oceans, lakes and rivers.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is committed to fostering and leveraging these important partnerships and the fund will support a number of scientific research projects and activities across the country, including those related to: science data collection and integration; ocean and freshwater monitoring; and, science in support of ocean literacy, and the management, conservation, protection and promotion of ocean and freshwater resources.

Examples of funded projects/initiatives

Oceana Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence Science Expedition: Promoting Ocean Science, Conservation and Exploration

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is providing $86,249 to Oceana Canada to document and promote a joint DFO-Oceana research and science expedition in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Oceana Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, along with Alexandra Cousteau, will explore never-before-seen coastal and deep-water areas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence from August 23-30, 2017. This is the most in-depth visual exploration of the area in Canada’s history and the findings will help understand and protect habitat essential to the health of our oceans. This funding will support the development and promotion of Oceana Canada’s daily at-sea videos, web content and a documentary. Canadians can participate in all aspects of this ocean exploration at – from a first-hand view of the seafloor, to life on a research vessel and what it takes for scientists and technicians to work in the control room. These tools will also serve as a platform to advance Canada’s leadership in habitat protection, garner media attention and conduct visual storytelling about the importance of our oceans and marine resources. Oceana Canada was established as an independent charity in 2015 and is part of the largest international advocacy group dedicated solely to ocean conservation.

Dalhousie University - Operationalization of a High-Resolution Ocean Forecasting Model of the Gulf of Maine and Scotian Shelf

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is contributing $20,000 from its science Partnership Fund to Dalhousie University to develop operational capacity for high-quality, short-term ocean forecasting for coastal and shelf waters in the Gulf of Maine and Scotian Shelf region. This work will serve many of DFO’s regional needs related to: marine safety and environmental protection; fishery and ecosystem management; the development of nearshore forecasting models; and interpreting data from the Atlantic Zonal Monitoring Program (AZMP).

This initiative, led by Keith Thompson of Dalhousie University, will bring the operational ocean forecasting model to complement the 24/7 operational forecasting models under development by the interdepartmental CONCEPTS program (Canadian Operational Network of Coupled Environmental PredicTion Systems). It will provide routine ocean forecasting products for use by the research community. Ocean forecasting results, the primary data from this project, will be archived at Dalhousie and distributed through the Internet.

Links: Atlantic Zone Monitoring Program (AZMP)

Simon Fraser University - Integrated Coastal Acidification Research

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is providing the Simon Fraser University with $90,000 from its science Partnership Fund in support of an Integrated Coastal Acidification Research project on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Since the industrial revolution, ocean acidification has increased by 30 percent. This has been especially damaging to organisms with shells and skeletons made of calcium carbonate, which dissolve more readily as ocean acidity increases. The impact can be severe as changes to individual organisms have the potential to affect marine food webs, biodiversity, and multi-billion dollar commercial fisheries and shellfish industries.

The Integrated Coastal Acidification Program (I-CAP) involves: field observations of the OA state on Canada’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts; laboratory experiments on key and commercially important coastal species to assess their biological responses to future OA conditions; modelling of acidification in coastal zones and assessment of socio-economic impacts.

This funding will support the development of an integrative and interdisciplinary research model to provide concrete information on the effects of ocean acidification to regional and national policy-makers, fisheries, aquaculture industries and dependent communities. This information could help to develop early warning systems, and assist with impact adaptation and mitigation.

Links: Ocean Acidification in Canadian Coastal Communities: an Integrated Coastal Acidification Program (I-CAP)

St. Lawrence Global Observatory (SLGO) - Web Portal for Data Dissemination

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is contributing $150,000 from its science Partnership Fund to the St. Lawrence Global Observatory (SLGO) for the development of a new information infrastructure.

The St. Lawrence Global Observatory integrates and disseminates data and information on oceans and freshwater resources to a wide range of users, with a focus on the St. Lawrence ecosystem from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This initiative will implement an information infrastructure—including a bilingual web portal—to integrate and provide access to scientific data on Canadian ocean and freshwater resources.

The data — from a variety of agencies and international observation systems such as GEO/GEOSS, IOOS, and AtlantOS — informs decision-making on a range of issues from public safety and transportation to climate change, resource management, and the conservation of biodiversity.

The new St. Lawrence Global Observatory information infrastructure will enhance the visibility of Canadian oceanographic research and improve access to ocean and freshwater data and its reuse by the scientific community, industry, and the general public.

Ecology Action Centre - Educating Coastal Communities on Sea Level Rise ($ 30,300)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is funding $30,300 to the Ecology Action Centre to help them educate Canadians in coastal communities about sea level rise.

Climate change-related sea level rise, combined with increased development pressure, poses risks to coastal communities in Atlantic Canada. Over the past five years, Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists have developed climate change adaptation tools including the Canadian Extreme Water Level Adaptation Tool (CAN-EWLAT), which provides sea level rise projections for Canada’s coastline over the coming century and advice on how much higher to build coastal infrastructure to accommodate the projected rise.

The goal of this project is to translate existing scientific data into useable information products for coastal communities in Atlantic Canada so they have the knowledge to incorporate sea level rise into future planning for infrastructure and other coastal issues. These products will include sea level rise information brochures and web pages as well as workshops and presentations to several coastal communities. Users include local harbour authorities that operate and manage infrastructure maintained by the Department’s Small Craft Harbours Program. Knowledge and data for this project will come from regional, national and international sources including Fisheries and Oceans Canada research.

Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre - PollutionTracker: A New Coast-Wide Initiative in British Columbia

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is contributing $399,000 to support Vancouver Aquarium’s PollutionTracker program, which will track contaminants released into the ocean that can harm marine organisms and their habitat.

The PollutionTracker will generate high-quality, high-resolution data on a wide range of contaminants including hydrocarbons, flame retardants, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and microplastics. The PollutionTracker model is also readily scalable for Canada-wide application.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s contribution to PollutionTracker will be used to expand its coverage along the B.C. coast to include the north and central coasts, Haida Gwaii, and the west and north coast Vancouver Island; contribute to data management and interpretation; and, support the dissemination of findings through scientific publications, conferences, and user-friendly, downloadable reports.

Ultimately, the data will help to identify pollution sources in B.C. and inform policies and management decisions.

St. Lawrence Estuary - Fish Species Inventory

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is providing the Aquarium du Québec with $51,000 to ensure the continuance of their over 55 years of data on fish species in the St. Lawrence Estuary. The inventory provides valuable baseline data that enables researchers to study the impacts that seasonal changes, climate change, invasive species and pollution can have on the species that live in the St. Lawrence Estuary.

The funding will be used to acquire new fishing gear to allow for continued collection of this valuable baseline data. This investment will also help to fund a new database that will eventually see this data available on a public web portal.

New Tools for Assessing Fish Stock Impacts - Bayesian Decision Networks (BDNs)

How many redfish must there be to sustain the Western Atlantic redfish fishery? Powerful computer tools are being developed to help answer that question. Due to poor recruitment (productivity), the Western Atlantic redfish fishery (unit 1+2) has not recovered since it was closed in 1995.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is providing the University of British Columbia Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries with $27,000 to use new computer tools (called Bayesian Decision Networks (BDNs)) to better assess the ecological factors impacting the productivity of the Western Atlantic redfish fishery.

The information obtained from this research may help inform how to best support the recovery of redfish populations.

Merinov – Antifouling measures: Development of non-biocidal techniques for shellfish aquaculture (mariculture)

Mariculturists must deal with various issues including biofouling of gear and animals at aquaculture sites. In the Magdalen Islands, QC, biofouling organisms such as algae, bivalves, crustaceans, and other invertebrates colonize aquaculture structures. Most problematic are the non-native invasive species of tunicates, such as the golden star tunicate (Botryllus schlosseri). The tunicates will coat nets and structures, affecting their floatability, and even the cultured animals themselves, affecting the health, growth and productivity of the bivalves (oysters, scallops). Efforts to remove and control these biofouling organisms can have significant economic impacts for growers, and depending on a site’s location, antifouling measures can account for up to 20-30% of a producer’s operating costs.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is providing $65,000 to Merinov, a non-profit organization, to study new, non-toxic methods for effectively reducing biofouling organism colonization at shellfish aquaculture sites, particularly invasive tunicates. The project will test two approaches to help protect equipment and improve the health of cultured scallops and oysters including the application of non-biocidal treatments and use of natural competitors (periwinkle and hermit crab).

This project has the goal of improving the management of shellfish aquaculture site structures as well as the survival of the cultured species.

Ocean Networks Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is providing $521,000 to Ocean Networks Canada to organize its Pacific fisheries, mammal and ocean data. This pilot project supports open science, with the end goal of making Fisheries and Oceans Canada data more accessible and user-friendly for stakeholders, researchers, academia and Canadians.

Collaborative Atlantic Salmon Research Projects

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is providing approximately $600,000 to Atlantic salmon scientific and conservation experts to enhance our collective understanding of Atlantic salmon and to ultimately support their long-term recovery on Canada’s East coast.

Ocean School

Jointly developed by Dalhousie University and the National Film Board, Ocean School aims to promote ocean literacy, connect Canada’s youth with our oceans, and inspire a new generation of ocean scientists. Targeted towards students ages 11 to 15, the innovative program combines cutting-edge research with stunning filmmaking and a variety of modern teaching tools, including interactive virtual classrooms, virtual reality installations, and hands-on research projects. The Ocean School curriculum supports the Government of Canada’s renewed focus on ocean science and its commitment to protect our three oceans, coasts, waterways and fisheries for the benefit of current and future generations.

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