The SmartBay project in Placentia Bay will reel in $224,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) over the next two years.
An ocean-monitoring system, SmartBay has provided real-time information on Placentia Bay vessel traffic, weather and ocean temperature since 2006.
The ACOA money will pay for operational costs of the project led by the Fisheries and Marine Institute’s School of Ocean Technology.
“It will also enable the school of ocean technology to lead the development and implementation of a new business plan to make SmartBay sustainable over the long term,” Senator Fabian Manning said in St. John’s Wednesday.
To date, ACOA has contributed
$2 million to the project.
SmartBay also has a trio of weather buoys that track wind, waves and barometric pressure — information used by fishermen and oil tanker captains plying the waters of Placentia Bay.
That information is publicly available on the SmartBay website at www.smartbay.ca.
“SmartBay web visits average about 7,000 per month,” said Manning.
He said local technology companies rely on SmartBay to develop and test new products.
“In March 2010, Rutter Technologies used SmartBay buoys to field trial their next generation radar technology.”
Manning said other industries, such as aquaculture, can also benefit as the SmartBay technology expands beyond Placentia Bay.
“What SmartBay does is give better information for better decision-making,” said Glenn Blackwood, executive director of the Fisheries and Marine Institute.
Blackwood said hundreds of tankers navigate Placentia Bay on their way to the Come By Chance oil refinery or the Whiffen Head transshipment facility.
“It’s the second-busiest port in Canada, and we’re doing it in an area that is harsh-weather environment and it’s one of the foggiest places on the planet,” he said.