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April 21, 2008
Nanaimo, B.C. – A comprehensive scientific research program is being launched in the Strait of Georgia to support the conservation of valuable fish stocks, Randy Kamp, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced today.The Ecosystem Research Initiative (ERI), funded by the Government of Canada, will increase Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s understanding of the health of the oceans, and the impacts that environmental changes are having on ocean conditions and fish populations.
“This investment is part of our government’s commitment to make substantial investments in fisheries science,” said Mr. Kamp. “Information obtained in the Strait of Georgia will help us to better understand and conserve fish stocks in the Pacific Ocean.”
The five-year program will provide important information on ocean conditions and salmon mortality, as well as on issues ranging from habitat protection to fisheries planning and species diversity. It will also enhance understanding of the impacts of industrial activity, contaminants and invasive species on the Strait of Georgia.
The research program will be led by DFO from its Pacific Biological Station (PBS) in Nanaimo, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2008. The program will build on PBS’s reputation as a centre for international scientific excellence.
The ERI is part of a broader effort to renew DFO’s science program in each region of Canada. As part of this work, the Government of Canada is investing $2.3 million annually to fund scientific research projects across the country over a five-year period. This research is in keeping with the federal government’s Health of the Oceans announcement in late 2007, which committed $42.5 million over three years to support activities to conserve and protect Canadian oceans, bringing the five-year commitment for the health of the oceans science to $61.5 million.
The ERI is another step toward DFO’s adoption of a broader ecosystem approach to resource management, which will help plan for the future of commercial and recreational fisheries, and important tourism activities.
“The ERI will look at what is driving changes in the oceans and what the future will look like,” said Mister Kamp. “Announcements like this show our government’s commitment to ensuring healthy, productive oceans for today and future generations.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region
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