Research programs

Fisheries and Oceans Canada researchers compete internally for funds with project proposals aligned to Departmental priorities. DFO also funds collaborative science involving external researchers. Aquatic science research projects focus on the areas listed below.


The Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP) jointly funds collaborative research between industry and DFO scientists that support DFO's mandate and the priorities of the aquaculture industry as they relate to optimal fish health and environmental performance.

The Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR) is part of the regulatory science pillar of the Sustainable Aquaculture Program, funding targeted research projects that address national and regional regulatory priorities related to sustainable aquaculture, cumulative effects and ecosystem management and environmental and biological interactions between aquaculture and the aquatic environment.

Climate Change

The Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Services Program (ACCASP) funds projects by DFO researchers:

  1. To advance understanding of the impacts of climate change on DFO activities and
  2. To develop associated applied-science adaptation tools.


The National Contaminants Advisory Group (NCAG) facilitates the provision of science advice for DFO on the biological effects of contaminants on aquatic species. Researchers working external to DFO are funded to develop knowledge on priority contaminant issues for DFO.

Ecosystem Science

The Strategic Program for Ecosystem-based Research and Advice (SPERA) funds projects by DFO researchers which:

  1. Assess the ecosystem impacts of human activities;
  2. Assess and report on ecosystems and
  3. Develop tools to implement the ecosystem approach to management.


The activities of the commercial fishery offer the Department a significant and unique opportunity to obtain fisheries science data related to the abundance and distribution of the fisheries resource. Through collaborative science activities with the Atlantic fishing industry, the Fisheries Science Collaborative Program (FSCP) enables the capture of this data and enhances core stock assessment activities while contributing to the knowledge base that supports resource management decisions. Collaborative initiatives with the Atlantic fishing industry are reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that projects are aligned with fisheries science priorities and conservation requirements.

The DFO International Governance Strategy (IGS) funds projects by DFO researchers to provide scientific knowledge in support of Canada’s engagement in international fisheries management.


The Genomics R&D Initiative (GRDI) is a federal program that coordinates science departments and agencies in the field of genomics research to contribute solutions to issues that are important to Canadians. The GRDI’s overarching goal is for federal laboratories to deliver and apply high quality, genomics-based R&D solutions to uphold regulatory, public policy, and operational mandates of Canada’s government in important areas such as health care, food safety, sound management of natural resources, a sustainable and competitive agriculture sector, and environmental protection, with strong collaborations with university and private sectors.

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