INDIGENOUS LAND AND RESOURCES TODAY
Significant Coastal Restoration Fund Investment in Newfoundland and Labrador to Restore a Healthy Ecosystem in Placentia Bay
September 11, 2017
ST. JOHN’S (Newfoundland) – The protection and restoration of the environment is a top priority for the Government of Canada. The Government of Canada is committed to providing resources for environmental protection and restoration for the benefit of all Canadians.
In May 2017, the Government of Canada announced a $75 million Coastal Restoration Fund to help to rehabilitate some of our most important marine ecosystems and address threats to marine species. The Fund is a part of the national $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan, an historic investment that aims to make Canada a leader in marine safety and our oceans for generations to come.
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced today that the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador will receive $4.7 million over five years for a project to help restore the ecosystem in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.
The Marine Institute is the first group in Newfoundland and Labrador to receive project funding through the Fund. The project will enhance the Placentia Bay ecosystem, benefitting fish and shellfish resources in coastal waters by restoring eelgrass beds, and enhancing habitat through deployment of artificial reefs. It will also restore migratory corridors for Atlantic salmon and increase ecosystem productivity for Species at Risk such as Blue whales and Leatherback turtles.
The Coastal Restoration Fund will support projects that contribute to coastal restoration on all of Canada’s coasts. Preference is given to projects that are multiyear and involve a broad number of partners that include Indigenous groups.
“Our government is committed to protecting our coasts—that’s why we announced the Oceans Protection Plan, which will help restore and protect marine ecosystems and habitats. The $75-million Coastal Restoration Fund provides an opportunity to address threats to our ocean and coastal areas. I am pleased that our collaboration with the Marine Institute in Newfoundland and Labrador will ensure a healthy, thriving ecosystem in Placentia Bay for future generations.”
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“Projects of this magnitude and importance are the reason why the Marine Institute’s Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research was created. We are proud to partner with DFO, the Miawpukek First Nation, fishing industry stakeholders, and local communities to rehabilitate eelgrass habitats and associated fish and shellfish resources in the coastal waters of Placentia Bay with the goal of sustainable fisheries and healthy ecosystems for years to come.”
Glenn Blackwood, Vice-President, Memorial University (Marine Institute)
- Placentia Bay has been identified as a priority for coastal restoration. Its port facilities handle some of the largest volumes of oil in Canadian waters and have experienced continued growth in both the oil and gas and marine shipping sectors.
- Eelgrass beds are ecologically significant due to the number of ecosystem services they provide, such as acting as a nursery for marine species. For example, eelgrass is found to be 17,000 times better at ensuring survival of young cod than other habitat
- This project will be led by the Marine Institute’s Centre for Fisheries Ecosystem Research (CFER) and will include partnerships with the Miawpukek First Nation, ACAP Humber Arm, Salmon Association of Eastern Newfoundland, Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union, and local fish harvesters.
- There will be opportunities for training and skills development of Indigenous summer interns and graduate students, as well as skill transfer of technical expertise to local communities.
- The Marine Institute will also fund other activities beyond the scope of this project, including new research programs to monitor eelgrass bed cover and abundance of key commercial species (lobster, cod) in Placentia Bay, reproduction of techniques used in this project to other regions in NL, and creation of an online citizen science database to involve public in long-term monitoring.