Research centre set to close

Rob Antle
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Federal funding expiring next month

The St. John's-based Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) is on the verge of closing.

CCFI officials and Liberal MP Gerry Byrne are blaming Ottawa.

But federal officials say they told CCFI last year that funding would end this spring, and advised the centre to develop a plan that didn't rely on Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) cash. They say that didn't happen.

Byrne, meanwhile, accused the Harper Conservatives of squeezing off the cash flow. He wants them to change their mind, and revisit the CCFI decision.

The St. John's-based Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) is on the verge of closing.

CCFI officials and Liberal MP Gerry Byrne are blaming Ottawa.

But federal officials say they told CCFI last year that funding would end this spring, and advised the centre to develop a plan that didn't rely on Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) cash. They say that didn't happen.

Byrne, meanwhile, accused the Harper Conservatives of squeezing off the cash flow. He wants them to change their mind, and revisit the CCFI decision.

"Their mandate has been judged, their effectiveness has been judged, and each and every time, it's been proven that the organization has been extremely effective at responding to the needs of the fishing industry, and as a result, the funding has consistently been renewed for each and every term," the Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte MP noted.

ACOA spokesman Doug Burgess said CCFI acts as a matching service between industry and research capability, but doesn't carry out that research itself.

Burgess said the research sector has evolved since the centre's founding two decades ago, to include more direct partnerships.

"Clearly, the fishing industry has found a way to directly engage the research and development capacity that they need to move forward," Burgess said.

ACOA has provided $60 million directly to industry and academics for fisheries-related research since 2002 under the Atlantic Innovation Fund, he noted.

In a March 27 letter, CCFI announced the "pending closure" of the centre.

"The centre's year-long attempt to meet ever-changing conditions of support by the responsible federal agencies has been thwarted by their failure to realize the importance of this essential research and development network for the fisheries and aquaculture industry of Atlantic Canada," CCFI managing director Carey Bonnell wrote in the letter.

Bonnell noted that CCFI "secured more than $400,000 in direct program funding from the Atlantic provinces and has met a myriad of other conditions set before the centre over the last 12 months."

CCFI was looking for $1 million from ACOA and $300,000 from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) over two years.

Gabe Gregory, chairman of the board for CCFI, told The Telegram the centre could shut down as early as the end of April.

Gregory said the centre has been lobbying Ottawa for about a year.

He doesn't think the same level of research will happen if CCFI closes up shop.

Provincial Fisheries Minister Tom Hedderson said the feds should find some cash for CCFI.

"This is not a big ask," Hedderson said. "In light of (a) $40-billion (federal) stimulus package, somewhere in the midst of all that they can't come up with a million and change?" he asked.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Canadian Centre, Fisheries Innovation Harper Conservatives Department of Fisheries and Oceans Atlantic Innovation Fund The Telegram

Geographic location: Ottawa, St. John's, Atlantic Canada

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    If they have a shortfall in funding, then they need to cut wages. Not rocket science, but better to have them all collect EI then a pay cut I see.

    Maybe these positions need to be held by volunteers, rather then high paid underworked pencil pushers. But then thats not going to benefit anyone but the people the agency was created to inform and thats not why they created it in the first place.

    Priorities people. Time to get it together. We are falling off faster then the cod.

  • Randall
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Good. Waste of money anyway. Shut down ACOA too.

  • Charlie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    If it looks walks and talks like a dictator than it must be Danny Williams. Enough said.

  • steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    I hope that Dan kicks in some of my provincial taxes to keep this going.
    It's good to be able to fund all the Federal projects on our own! Just like the fisheries science Dan is funding. Good job Dan, we'll keep you around.....oh right....we don't have a choice.

  • tony
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    Yes, lets do that Sandy though I expect we would like to see it for different resons. If Harper is punishing us for voting for the candidates of our choice in a free and democratic election then he fits the role of dictator and bully better then Danny ever will. I recall in the last province election the PC candidate in Jones district suggested the people there would be better off on the goverment side. Williams call him up on the carpet and forced him to apolegize. This probably cost the tories the seat.

  • sandy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Another cost of ABC campaign.

    The telegram should report the cost/loss to NL todate. Oh yes.... a lot more to come!

  • b
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Randall Lahey from Sunnyvale, NS writes: Good. Waste of money anyway. Shut down ACOA too.


    Typical NS brown noser. Go back to your trailer park Lahey.

  • tony
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Depressing the comments. The telegram comments section is getting as bad as the globe and mails. Just a collection of insults and slander, without a hint of evidence to back it up. Just a vain hope that if they repeat the same garbage enough maybe someone will believe them.

  • Joan
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    It would be interesting to know if the federal government is also cutting back support for the Maurice Lamontagne Institute, the marine sciences research centre it bestowed upon Quebec as part of the compensation after it took back control of the fishery in Quebec in 1983. (Quebec had full control of its fishery from 1922 -- unlike Nfld. which has not not even been allowed to share management with the feds.)

    The Maurice Lamontagne Institute is called a world-class facility. Its mission, it says, is to provide the federal government with a scientific basis for the conservation of living marine resources, the protection of the marine environment, and safe maritime navigation as well as to ensure the application of legislation designed for the integrated management of the marine environment and the protection of fish habitat.

    I wonder if marine and fisheries research in the great fishing province of Quebec will also suffer at the hands of the Harper government.

  • LAUGHING
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    I guess you complainers out there will have to purchase new Lazy Boy chairs to get comfortable in because Danny is there until Danny decides to leave .The majority of the voters in the province agree with what he is doing by standing up for what we all believe in.Maybe you losers would like to have a Roger Grimes or Beaton Tulk or even a Jim Walsh to show us how to get more out of the Federal Gov by kneeling down & begging while giving away anything & everything that the Feds will take.

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Smells like Tony the Tory.....wipe the blue KOOL AID off your top lip. There was nothing free about the election when fear, intimidation, bullying and misinformation are used to sway voters.

  • tony
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Yes, lets do that Sandy though I expect we would like to see it for different resons. If Harper is punishing us for voting for the candidates of our choice in a free and democratic election then he fits the role of dictator and bully better then Danny ever will. I recall in the last province election the PC candidate in Jones district suggested the people there would be better off on the goverment side. Williams call him up on the carpet and forced him to apolegize. This probably cost the tories the seat.

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    If they have a shortfall in funding, then they need to cut wages. Not rocket science, but better to have them all collect EI then a pay cut I see.

    Maybe these positions need to be held by volunteers, rather then high paid underworked pencil pushers. But then thats not going to benefit anyone but the people the agency was created to inform and thats not why they created it in the first place.

    Priorities people. Time to get it together. We are falling off faster then the cod.

  • Randall
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Good. Waste of money anyway. Shut down ACOA too.

  • Charlie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    If it looks walks and talks like a dictator than it must be Danny Williams. Enough said.

  • steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    I hope that Dan kicks in some of my provincial taxes to keep this going.
    It's good to be able to fund all the Federal projects on our own! Just like the fisheries science Dan is funding. Good job Dan, we'll keep you around.....oh right....we don't have a choice.

  • tony
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    Yes, lets do that Sandy though I expect we would like to see it for different resons. If Harper is punishing us for voting for the candidates of our choice in a free and democratic election then he fits the role of dictator and bully better then Danny ever will. I recall in the last province election the PC candidate in Jones district suggested the people there would be better off on the goverment side. Williams call him up on the carpet and forced him to apolegize. This probably cost the tories the seat.

  • sandy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Another cost of ABC campaign.

    The telegram should report the cost/loss to NL todate. Oh yes.... a lot more to come!

  • b
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Randall Lahey from Sunnyvale, NS writes: Good. Waste of money anyway. Shut down ACOA too.


    Typical NS brown noser. Go back to your trailer park Lahey.

  • tony
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Depressing the comments. The telegram comments section is getting as bad as the globe and mails. Just a collection of insults and slander, without a hint of evidence to back it up. Just a vain hope that if they repeat the same garbage enough maybe someone will believe them.

  • Joan
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    It would be interesting to know if the federal government is also cutting back support for the Maurice Lamontagne Institute, the marine sciences research centre it bestowed upon Quebec as part of the compensation after it took back control of the fishery in Quebec in 1983. (Quebec had full control of its fishery from 1922 -- unlike Nfld. which has not not even been allowed to share management with the feds.)

    The Maurice Lamontagne Institute is called a world-class facility. Its mission, it says, is to provide the federal government with a scientific basis for the conservation of living marine resources, the protection of the marine environment, and safe maritime navigation as well as to ensure the application of legislation designed for the integrated management of the marine environment and the protection of fish habitat.

    I wonder if marine and fisheries research in the great fishing province of Quebec will also suffer at the hands of the Harper government.

  • LAUGHING
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    I guess you complainers out there will have to purchase new Lazy Boy chairs to get comfortable in because Danny is there until Danny decides to leave .The majority of the voters in the province agree with what he is doing by standing up for what we all believe in.Maybe you losers would like to have a Roger Grimes or Beaton Tulk or even a Jim Walsh to show us how to get more out of the Federal Gov by kneeling down & begging while giving away anything & everything that the Feds will take.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Smells like Tony the Tory.....wipe the blue KOOL AID off your top lip. There was nothing free about the election when fear, intimidation, bullying and misinformation are used to sway voters.

  • tony
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Yes, lets do that Sandy though I expect we would like to see it for different resons. If Harper is punishing us for voting for the candidates of our choice in a free and democratic election then he fits the role of dictator and bully better then Danny ever will. I recall in the last province election the PC candidate in Jones district suggested the people there would be better off on the goverment side. Williams call him up on the carpet and forced him to apolegize. This probably cost the tories the seat.