Lab Canada

Funding to improve knowledge of highly migratory Atlantic fish

Halifax, NS – St Andrew’s Biological Station and the Bedford Institute of Oceanography will receive $203,000 from the federal government this year to improve the scientific understanding of highly migratory species in the Atlantic Ocean.

“This funding will help us fill some of the gaps in scientific knowledge of high seas fish stocks and oceans ecosystems,” said Geoff Regan, minister of fisheries and oceans, in making the announcement. “It will also allow Canada to join the global community in building a sound scientific base on which to support the reform of regional fisheries management regimes.”

Scientists at the biological station will develop a new way to validate the age of bluefin tuna to better assess stock abundance. They will also participate with the Nova Scotia Swordfish Harpoon Association in the first Canadian high-tech tagging study of swordfish to determine their migration patterns. Funding will also be used by scientists at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography to study the migration patterns of porbeagle and blue sharks.

The federal government announced funding of $20 million over three years for science, advocacy, policy and legal initiatives in support of Canada’s strategy to support international governance of high seas last April. More than half of this funding ($11 million) was reserved for scientific research to increase knowledge of high seas marine ecosystems, and to enable sound management decisions concerning resources within these ecosystems. This research includes initiatives on highly migratory fish stocks, such as tuna and swordfish, as well as sharks in the Atlantic Ocean.

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) sets the Canadian quota for tuna and swordfish. Canada is responsible for adhering to its quota and reporting its landings to ICCAT each year at the organization’s annual meeting. This year’s meeting will take place next week in Seville, Spain. Among its objectives for the meeting, Canada will be seeking a commitment for organizational report to continue to improve the way the world manages high seas fish stocks.