General Information

Infrastructure Investments for DFO Science Facilities in British Columbia, and Government of Canada Support for Conservation and Research Initiatives on the Pacific Coast

The Center for Aquaculture & Environmental Research (CAER) in West Vancouver is an internationally recognized research facility dedicated to aquaculture and coastal research. Over the years, the facility has created collaborative opportunities for B.C.’s two largest universities. Faculty and students from the University of British Columbia (UBC), plus staff from the Vancouver Aquarium, often work side-by-side on research projects with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) scientists at CAER. The six-hectare site provides a unique opportunity for experimental research on fish rearing and indoor-outdoor aquaria and ecosystem and conservation studies in support of DFO’s role as the Federal regulator for B.C.’s aquaculture industry. The infrastructure investment of up to $2.2 million at CAER is for upgrades to the building including refurbishment of the elevator, electrical, and fire suppression systems and for health and safety upgrades, as well as for refurbishment of the wharf and related infrastructure.

The Institute of Ocean Sciences (IOS) in Sidney on Vancouver Island is one of Canada’s largest marine research institutes. Ocean science conducted there by 250 scientists and researchers focusses on the coastal waters of B.C., the Northeastern Pacific Ocean, the western Canadian Arctic, and the navigable fresh waters east to the Alberta border. Research studies range from the effects of global warming on marine ecosystems, to tracking ‘red tide’ in shellfish, and even predictions on where and when a tsunami will strike. IOS is also home to numerous scientific collaborators. DFO’s Canadian Hydrographic Service at IOS produces more than 20 per cent of Canada’s nautical charts. Natural Resources Canada, Pacific Geoscience Center, is a partner in the building and is the main centre in western Canada for monitoring and understanding earthquakes/ tsunamis and other marine geo-hazards. The infrastructure investment of up to $13 million improves fire safety capacity, accessibility, and upgrades the building envelope to help renew and enhance the science facilities at IOS that support ongoing Departmental research in the Strait of Georgia and beyond. Replacement of key portions of the IOS building boiler system will reduce operating costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy consumption. New systems will make the facility more environmentally sustainable and extend the life cycle of the facility. Upgrades to the wharf and related infrastructure will also take place.

The Pacific Biological Station (PBS) is the oldest fisheries research centre on the Pacific coast and the principal centre for fisheries research on the West Coast. Located in Nanaimo, British Columbia, PBS was established in 1908, and designated as a site of national historic significance by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and Parks Canada in November 2014. The Station is home to scientists, technicians, and support staff studying the coastal waters of British Columbia, the Northeast Pacific Ocean. Research at PBS involves stock assessment, aquaculture, marine habitat, ocean science, and fish productivity. The infrastructure investment of up to $2.9 million for PBS is for wharf improvements, building envelope refurbishment, fire safety and accessibility improvements, and building infrastructure and health and safety upgrades.

The National Conservation Plan
In the 2014 federal budget, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada received $37 million in funding over five years for marine and coastal conservation under the National Conservation Plan. The plan further increases protected areas by focusing on stronger marine and coastal conservation. Canada currently has eight Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) under the Oceans Act, and the designations of an additional eight areas are in various stages of completion.

The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project

Budget 2015 committed $2 million in 2015-16 to the Pacific Salmon Foundation to investigate the factors affecting the survival of juvenile salmon and steelhead in the Salish Sea. The research into the Salish Sea’s marine environment – including algae, hatcheries, salmon migration and marine mammal impacts on salmon – will employ the most up-to-date research techniques and will draw on the expertise of academics and volunteers committed to this project. The Pacific Salmon Foundation is a not-for-profit organization established in 1987 to conserve and restore wild Pacific salmon stocks and their habitat.

News release: Minister Shea Announces Funding for Science Facilities, Marine Protection and Salmon Research on the Pacific Coast