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Science research vessel arrives in Newfoundland


St John’s, NFLD – Newfoundland’s first fisheries science and oceanographic research vessel, the Celtic Explorer, has arrived in St John’s. The research vessel has been chartered by the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University (MI) from the Marine Institute of Ireland.

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is providing $10.25 million in funding for the new Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research (CFER) and the charter of the Celtic Explorer. The Research & Development Corporation (RDC) is providing another $1.5 million.

The vessel will conduct cod winter acoustic surveys during the month of February under the guidance of Dr George Rose through the new Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research at MI. The Celtic Explorer may conduct research on other species in the future.

“The establishment of the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research and the chartering of the Celtic Explorer mark an important step forward to better understand the fisheries resources off our shores which continue to sustain a fundamental industry within the provincial economy,” said Glenn Janes, chief executive officer of RDC. “Of particular interest for RDC is the use of leading edge technologies and the international partnerships that will help to grow the province’s research capabilities.”

The Celtic Explorer is a 65-m state-of-the-art fisheries and oceanographic research vessel, capable of conducting offshore fisheries surveys and other oceanographic work in the waters off Newfoundland and Labrador.

The primary research to be conducted aboard the Celtic Explorer will be a sonar-based acoustic survey of the biomass and age-size structure of cod within the Canadian zone of Newfoundland and Labrador waters. Research on the overwintering cod will include collaborative studies of reproduction and condition, feeding and stock structure, with samples collected from stomach tissues for genetic study, and otoliths (ear bones) for aging and studies of fish birthplace movement. Oceanographic data will be recorded and the survey will listen for cod previously tagged with active transmitters by the federal Fisheries and Oceans Canada.