SmartBay buoyed by funding

Moira Baird
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Placentia Bay project nets $224,000 from ACOA

Marine Institute executive director Glenn Blackwood (left) and Senator Fabian Manning shake hands following Manning's announcement Wednesday of a $224,000 investment by ACOA to continue the SmartBay project in Placentia Bay. The project uses high-tech buoys that record essential marine information for use in research and planning.

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.

mbaird@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Fisheries and Marine Institute, School of Ocean Technology

Geographic location: Placentia Bay, Canada

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  • brad
    January 20, 2011 - 11:41

    At least they found something for Fabian Manning to do to make him seem useful, the way he acts you wouldn't know but he donated the money himself. It's nice they're making the bay smart, that way when Vale starts pumping heavy metals into placentia bay we can track the poisonous cloud, and pinpoint where all the dead fish and animals are washing up. If you want to make the bay smart, try by not dumping mining effluent into it morons. The money being thrown around by government and Vale for a few make work jobs could have been spent building a proper containment for Vale's poison. I guess this way it makes less environment to conserve, and DFO won't have to monitor the fishery because there won't be one.

  • Edmund
    January 20, 2011 - 09:53

    Wow!! Another huge gift from the Government of our taxpayers money to Rutter Technologies. Without all the Prov and Fed Govnt money they would in all likelyhood, be out of business. Looks like those who have the connections, the time and know how to fill out the forms and are sucking the proverbial "political tit" get all the money. Why doesn't Rutter try to go it alone and see what happens? Try investing their own money to run their business instead of all this smoke and mirrors styff. Must be an election year with all the good old boys coming to town and passing out all the free bees. If someone took the time to investigate how many jobs Rutter have created and terminated since they started with the Govnt handouts I suggest that it would be the negative but the owners certainly got richer. What happened to handouts for job creation? Fabian Manning and AQCOA should put a task force on that to do an investigation. Now, that would be couple of worthwhile jobs created and the results of the findings would be very interesting. Go ahead and be accountable for our tax dollars.