Feature Articles

Article Description Region Date
First Nations Collaborations Aid Fisheries and Oceans Canada Research and Monitoring of the Iconic Wild Atlantic Salmon The decline of wild Atlantic Salmon stocks on Canada’s East Coast has long been a focus of research and conservation efforts. While populations in some areas of Atlantic Canada and Quebec still support recreational fisheries and aboriginal harvests, the inner Bay of Fundy population is listed as Endangered under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), and the outer Bay of Fundy population is designated as Endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Maritimes 2017-06-26
Acoustic Research Reveals New Insights into the Distribution of Whales in the Gully Marine Protected Area As human activities continue to increase in the offshore areas of Atlantic Canada, so do potential impacts on the marine environment. On the Scotian Shelf, there has been recent renewed interest in oil and gas exploration and production. This, along with commercial shipping and other human activities, can generate underwater noise of concern for marine mammals, including several species at risk (SAR). Maritimes 2016-11-15
Thinking Out of the Box: Exploring Strategies to Reduce Sea Lice Infestations in Salmon Farms Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) researchers and their research partners are investigating alternate solutions for reducing sea lice infestations that can plague salmon farms. Salmon farms can provide particularly good conditions for the growth and transmission of sea lice, including host availability, ideal salinity and temperature. If an infestation is severe enough, it may stress and eventually kill the fish. Maritimes 2016-09-14
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s National Aquatic Animal Health Laboratories Attain International Accreditation Safeguarding Canada’s reputation for high-quality fish and seafood—as well as the livelihoods of those who work in the industry—depends on the ability to deliver accurate, reliable, and consistent test results for detecting aquatic animal diseases. National Capital Region 2016-07-11
Fisheries and Oceans Canada Validates Diagnostic Tests for Detecting Cyprinid Herpesvirus 3 in Common Carp and Koi Carp account for more than 70 percent of the farmed freshwater fish production in the world, with most of the carp aquaculture occurring in Eastern Europe and Asia. In recent years, however, world production of Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio L)—including ornamental koi—has taken a significant hit from cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (CyHV-3), which is responsible for the highly contagious koi herpesvirus disease (KHVD). According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the disease has had a significant negative impact on a key food source as well as employment in many countries. National Capital Region 2016-07-11
Fisheries and Oceans Canada Develops a Faster Testing Method for Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus At the Gulf Fisheries Centre in Moncton, New Brunswick, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) research scientist Dr. Mark Laflamme and his research team have developed a faster way to detect Infectious Salmon Anemia virus (ISAv) by combining the best characteristics of two different diagnostic testing techniques. DFO’s Centre for Aquatic Animal Health Research and Diagnostics funded the development of the new testing procedure in support of the National Aquatic Animal Health Program. National Capital Region 2016-07-11
Molecular Diagnostic Screening Enables Simultaneous Detection of the Shellfish Parasites Bonamia ostreae and Bonamia exitiosa As a member of the World Trade Organization, Canada is required to ensure that imports and exports of fish and seafood products are free of infectious aquatic pathogens (disease-causing agents). In Canada, this responsibility falls to the National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP), which is co-delivered by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). National Capital Region 2016-07-11
Underwater sound quest At the end of 2012, an unprecedented scientific expedition took place at the Maurice Lamontagne Institute in Mont-Joli, Quebec. Fisheries and Oceans Canada researchers deployed an underwater acoustic observatory station in the Gulf of St. Lawrence that continuously captured the noise radiating from ships. National Capital Region 2016-03-04
Studying the Environmental Impact of Small Craft Harbours With hundreds of public and private marinas and small craft harbours dotting the British Columbia coast, it is no wonder that most residents don’t give them too much thought. They are just another part of the geography and landscape of this part of Canada. Pacific 2016-02-05
Tracking the Titans: Research on Endangered Leatherback Turtles Informs a Recovery Strategy In the wee hours of the morning on March 22, 2014, there is no sleep for Fisheries and Oceans Canada sea turtle biologist Dr. Mike James. Instead, he monitors his laptop screen for updates on the location of a Leatherback Turtle as it nears the coast of the Caribbean island of Trinidad. Seven months earlier, in August 2013, Dr. James and his team captured the same turtle feeding off the coast of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and equipped it with a satellite tag to track its movements in Canadian waters and its subsequent journey to the tropics. Maritimes 2016-01-29
Aquatic Barcoding There isn’t a shopper alive who doesn’t know what a barcode looks like. We see them on virtually everything we buy – labels with distinct series of vertical bars and white spaces of varying widths. The labels are read with a scanner, which measures reflected light and translates the coding into numbers and letters that are passed on to a computer. Barcodes track just about everything there is to know about a product and its status in the supply chain. Pacific 2016-01-22
Research Reveals that Sea Ice and the Timing of Key Ecosystem Events Influences the Capelin Stock off Canada's East Coast Research supported by the Newfoundland Ecosystem Research Initiative (ERI) of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has revealed new insights into the factors that regulate the abundance of Capelin (Mallotus villosus), a keystone forage species in the Northwest Atlantic marine ecosystem. Newfoundland and Labrador 2014-03-31
Whales They are among the largest and most exotic marine mammals in the world -and fortunate is the scientist who gets to study them. Pacific 2014-12-22
Advances in knowledge about the state of the St. Lawrence: results of acidification and hypoxia work The deep waters of the Lower St. Lawrence Estuary have undergone major changes in recent decades. Lower oxygen levels, also known as hypoxia, and higher acidity are a threat to marine species. Fisheries and Oceans Canada researchers explain the importance of having a better understanding of this phenomenon and its potential effects on the organisms that live in these waters. Quebec 2014-11-19
Highly Diluted Fukushima Radioactivity Becomes an Ocean Tracer, Providing New Insights into Ocean Circulation There are a variety of ways to study ocean circulation—most are planned though some are occasionally unplanned, as in the case of a tracer that accidentally ended up in the Pacific Ocean on March 11, 2011. That was the day a severe, undersea earthquake off the northeast coast of Japan triggered a tsunami, causing extensive damage to a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan. The natural disaster resulted in the release of radioactive cesium-137 (137Cs) and cesium-134 (134Cs)—common products of nuclear fission—directly into the western North Pacific Ocean. Maritimes 2014-11-05
Climate Change and the Impact On Fish Species in the North Perhaps nowhere are the readily observable effects of climate change more evident than they are in Canada’s North. It is relatively easy to see and measure the impact of rising temperatures on sea ice, coastal erosion, degradation of permafrost, and so on. Central and Arctic 2014-10-23
Ocean Acidification in the Northwest Atlantic: Exploring Effects on Marine Life and Ecosystem Processes Every year, the ocean's surface absorbs about one third of all carbon dioxide emissions. When the atmospheric carbon dissolves in the ocean, it reacts with water molecules and produces carbonic acid. That's what is called "ocean acidification". Maritimes 2014-09-23
Pregnancy tests for the St. Lawrence's Beluga Whales! It is late summer, 2013. On the ship's deck, Véronique Lesage, researcher at the Maurice Lamontagne Institute in Mont-Joli, scans the rough waters of the St. Lawrence Estuary. Between sky and sea, she can make out white dots bobbing with the rhythm of the swell: Beluga Whales. Finally—the sampling campaign can begin. Quebec 2014-08-09
The Challenges of Stock Assessment One of the most critical functions carried out by Fisheries and Oceans Canada is assessing the state of fish stocks within its jurisdiction. It is critical both for conservation reasons, and for the continuance of viable commercial fisheries. By any measure, it is no simple job. Pacific 2014-07-13
Snow Crab and lobster in hot water! Fond of Snow crab? Hurry up! You may see less of this crustacean on your plate by 2070. The increasing water temperature in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence is to blame. According to a discovery by three scientists at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the variation is enough to potentially disrupt the life cycle and habitat of two emblematic tenants: the Snow Crab and lobster. Maritimes 2014-05-15
When the Atlantic Salmon comes home – more than once! When will you come back? That's a question we could ask the Atlantic Salmon spawning in the waters of New Brunswick's Miramichi River. For the past 20 years, it has been returning more frequently to conceive its progeny there. Once, twice and sometimes more throughout its adult life. This repeated homecoming is related to the abundance of food according to two scientists at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Gulf 2014-05-07
Keeping The Green Crab At Bay – A Proactive Approach Aquatic invasive species are a scourge the world over. They can damage aquatic ecosystems and threaten native species through predation, disease or by outcompeting them for food or space. Not only can they wreak havoc on the environment, they can damage local economies and fisheries. Pacific 2014-02-14
Tracking the Ecosystem Interactions of Shellfish Aquaculture To fill the growing gap between consumer demand and seafood production from traditional fisheries, aquaculture has expanded internationally to become the fastest-growing, food-producing sector in the world. As the demand for aquaculture products continues to grow, it is important that the industry be managed in an environmentally sustainable way. Maritimes 2014-02-14
Extreme Weather – The Arctic Connection When it comes to science, climate change and weather, it is always a tricky business to try to definitively establish cause and effect. Separating the real cause from a mere coincidence, and then connecting the dots between the extreme meteorological events that we witness on our television news and identifying their specific cause is - to say the least - challenging. Pacific 2014-01-24
Japanese Skeleton Shrimp under scrutiny In 2003, mussel growers in the Carleton area were concerned. An invasive species, the Japanese Skeleton Shrimp, had landed. It swarms onto the collectors and mussel culture lines. Would it put mussel spat at risk or slow its growth? Who knew? To determine whether the species was harmful, a Fisheries and Oceans project studied the "Japanese threat." Very closely. Quebec 2013-11-18
Satellite Oceanography and the "Malaspina Dragon" At first blush it wouldn't seem as if training in astronomy is a natural fit for someone who ended up in oceanography, but it worked for Dr. Jim Gower. He is a researcher at the Institute of Ocean Sciences (IOS) located in Sidney, British Columbia on Vancouver Island. IOS is a centre for research on coastal waters of BC, the Northeastern Pacific, the western Canadian Arctic and navigable fresh waters - east to the Alberta border. As one of Canada's largest marine institutes, it represents part of DFO's ecosystem management approach to protecting the marine environment. Pacific 2013-11-04
Assessing Impacts of Converting Oyster Leases from Bottom to Suspended Culture in Foxley/Trout River, PEI Oyster aquaculture in Canada is gradually evolving from the traditional use of the benthic environment to suspension (off-bottom) culture. Some oyster culturists in the Foxley/Trout River system in Prince Edward Island (PEI) have been experimenting with this new approach and many lease holders in this area are now seeking to convert their bottom leases to suspended leases. Gulf 2013-10-18
Searching for North Atlantic Right Whale Feeding Grounds The Species at Risk team at Fisheries and Oceans Canada St. Andrews Biological Station is seeking information on the whereabouts of groups of the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) in Canadian waters. Maritimes 2013-09-30
Aquatic invaders under high surveillance Have you heard of the green crab, skeleton shrimp, golden star tunicate or other tunicates? No? Believe it or not, these invasive species have besieged Quebec waters completely unnoticed. Quebec 2013-04-17
Characterizing Habitats to Better Protect Species at Risk In the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, the biological diversity is remarkable, and reflects this vast area's wide range of environmental conditions. Quebec 2013-03-21
Behind the science Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists will tell you: if you're keen to know what's going on in our oceans, there's only one way to go—collect data in the field. National Capital Region 2013-02-19
Mysteries of the Deep This is a story of discovery and coincidence. It is a story that Richard Sanfaçon is very well placed to tell. Quebec 2013-01-23
A Milestone for Ocean Observation: International Argo Program Reaches One-Millionth Profile On November 4th 2012, the international ocean observation program, Argo, passed a momentous milestone, collecting its one-millionth "profile" of ocean conditions in real-time since its launch in 2000. Over the years, Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists have played key roles in making Argo what it is today – one of the most effective and comprehensive ocean observation systems in the world. National Capital Region 2012-12-13
Proteomics Research Leads to New Tests for Bitter Crab Disease, Determining When Crabs Will Molt and More Aquatic biotechnology includes genomics, a discipline that aims to decipher and understand the entire genetic information content of plants, animals and fish, as well as micro-organisms. Newfoundland and Labrador 2012-11-14
Growth Bands in Lobsters, Crabs and Shrimp Reveal Age Crustaceans such as crabs, lobsters and shrimp are tasty examples of Canadian seafood, and their fisheries are among the most valuable in Canada, worth more than $1 billion per year. Maritimes 2012-10-30
Northern Bottlenose Whales Talk to Hilary Moors and you find out you are talking to a young woman who has found her passion, the ocean and the creatures that live within it. Her research over the past few years has been the northern bottlenose whale, particularly the endangered population found in the offshore waters of Nova Scotia. Maritimes 2012-09-12
Parks Canada 2012 Franklin Expedition Cutting-edge tools for bathymetric surveying allow the Canadian Hydrographic Service to visualize spectacular seabed detail and expose long-hidden secrets. National Capital Region 2012-08-29
Fisheries and Oceans Canada Provides Expertise to Assess the Impacts of Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Dr. Kenneth Lee, Executive Director of the Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research (COOGER) - a Fisheries and Oceans Canada centre of expertise - is serving on a committee under the U.S. National Academies that is conducting an environmental study to explore the impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on the Gulf of Mexico. Specifically, the research will investigate the impacts of the spill on ecosystem services, which are the resources and processes provided by natural ecosystems that are of value to individuals or society. Maritimes 2012-07-11
Capelin: A Small Fish of Great Importance Capelin was traditionally fished in the St. Lawrence Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence for use as fertilizer or bait. Today, its roe is primarily sold to the Japanese market. This extremely lucrative market has sent the capelin fishery skyrocketing. Quebec 2012-06-13
Scientific Support Provided by Fisheries and Oceans Canada During the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Response Operations Boosts Canada's Oil Spill Preparedness Following the Deepwater Horizon oil platform explosion in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to provide scientific and technical expertise in the spill response operations. Maritimes 2012-03-26
Counting Salmon Like many biologists, George Cronkite has been with Fisheries and Oceans Canada for a long time; about 27 years. He first worked as a management biologist in the Yukon and for the past 16 years has been at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo British Columbia, where he is currently the program head for Marine and Freshwater Acoustics. Pacific 2012-02-22
The Theory of Stock Assessment If you had to sum up in a few words what the process of fish stock assessment is all about, most science literature on the subject describes it as "turning data into advice." Maritimes 2012-02-09
An Appetite for Oil: Oceans Rebound from Oil Spills with the Aid of Microbes In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which sent an estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico during three months in 2010, nature continued to do what it has long done - slowly but surely break down the oil into its constituent parts including carbon dioxide and water. Maritimes 2012-01-25
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