(St. John’s, NL: 07 April 2014) Continuous investment in fisheries science by the Provincial Government is increasing knowledge about the province’s fish stocks in a changing ecosystem, and helping to ensure the overall sustainability of Newfoundland and Labrador’s fishing industry.

The Honourable Keith Hutchings, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, joined Dr. George Rose, Director of the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research, at the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University today to outline how these investments are supporting research on the influences of climate change on our marine ecosystem, as well as the size and distribution of fish stocks.

In a government news release Minister Hutchings is quoted as saying that Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province funding independent inshore and offshore research surveys. “Through Budget 2014, we are increasing our support for research with an investment of $4.95 million over the next two years. The Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research collects significant data that is vital to supporting fisheries management processes, which will take on even greater importance as the provincial fishery becomes a player in new international markets,” the minister said.

Since the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research was launched in 2010, the Provincial Government has invested $13 million to support fisheries science research.

Dr. George Rose, Director, Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research was on hand for the announcement. He said it was through the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research that the Marine Institute applies its resources and expertise to help understand the fish stock dynamics in the Northwest Atlantic. “We appreciate the ongoing support we receive from the Provincial Government as we advance research that is vital to the economy of this province. And we look forward to taking on new projects with the new funding in Budget 2014.”

Several of the ongoing research projects made possible through public investment include acoustic surveys of northern cod, ecological and biological studies of haddock off the south coast of the island, research into shrimp distribution and dynamics, and the world’s first long-term cod satellite tagging project.

Graduate students contribute to many of these projects and to the research capacity within the province after they complete their studies. Since the creation of the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research, according to the Province’s statistics, graduate student numbers have more than doubled.

Glenn Blackwood, Vice-President, Memorial University (Marine Institute) was also quoted in the release. He said that the Provincial Government’s investments in fisheries science have allowed CFER to collect valuable data which has greatly increased understanding of the fisheries ecosystems surrounding Newfoundland and Labrador. The Provincial Government has contributed a total of $150,000 to support student research placements since 2010, which, according to Blackwood, “supports our students, allowing them to become future scientists and play a vital role in maintaining sustainable fisheries. By creating opportunities for graduate students to advance this research, the Provincial Government helps the Marine Institute continuously expand the pool of talented researchers in this province, which in turn benefits the fishing industry,” he said.

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