I’d like to reaffirm our government’s commitment to having strong science resources at Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
We are proud of the excellent work done by our scientists and will continue to build on existing knowledge about our oceans, waterways, and fisheries resources.
Our government understands that science is essential to the long-term sustainability of Canada’s fisheries.
Government must continually review its operations to make sure that taxpayer dollars are focused and spent in a way to achieve the best results for Canadians, our marine environment and to address the needs of a changing world.
Over and above the approximately $150 million the department spends on scientific programming each year, under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, our government has invested an additional $100 million to support key research for Canadians through Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The new research facility at the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre in St. John’s is part of a series of projects in fisheries science since 2006.
Improvements to the research facilities include an extension and substantial renovations to the existing building.
They also include upgrading of the saltwater supply system that supports the department’s science aquarium facility, improved fume hood capacity and an upgraded necropsy laboratory, as well as construction of a new chemical and biological storage facility and oceanographic and hydroacoustic workshops.
We’ve also upgraded the 18 scientific field camps and fishway facilities across the province.
The facilities are used by scientists to conduct fish counting, and measuring activities in support of stock assessments.
These activities support the management, conservation and protection of marine species in Newfoundland and Labrador.
In addition, the new Canadian Coast Guard ship Vladykov will arrive at its new home port in St. John’s in the coming weeks.
The Vladykov is a versatile near-shore fisheries and oceanographic research ship and will replace the CCGS Shamook after 35 years of service.
Our robust environmental response capacity will remain exactly as it is. We maintain response equipment in more than 80 sites across the country, which can be deployed as needed.
Science that supports our environmental response capacity is conducted by a variety of departments across the Government of Canada.
The Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research will continue to provide scientific knowledge to ensure safe and environmentally sound management of offshore oil, gas and renewable energy operations.
As new threats to Canada’s fisheries emerge, we will address them.
As ecosystems and Canadians’ priorities evolve, so will our investments in science, and we will continue to invest responsibly where it counts most.
Keith Ashfield is Canada’s minister of Fisheries and Oceans.