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Government Helps Fund Advanced Halibut Tagging

24 October 2014

With support of the Provincial Government, the Fish Food and Allied Workers union (FFAW) and the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research at the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University, will continue an in-depth study of the Atlantic halibut stock in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

C$79,700 has been announced to support research into the migration patterns and behaviour of Atlantic halibut through satellite tagging, and C$27,530 to advance scientific data collection through conventional tagging.

“As a government, we are pleased to support innovative fisheries research projects that provide valuable information about fish stocks. This investment of more than C$107,000 will continue to foster collaboration between researchers, the industry, and government as we develop a comprehensive, advanced tagging program to monitor and track the entire Atlantic Halibut stock in the gulf,” said Vaughn Granter, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

More than 220 fish have been tagged with conventional tags. Data collected from these tags will support a comprehensive study to estimate how much of the stock is being harvested. In addition, a total of 24 pop-up satellite tags have been placed on juvenile fish. Data from these satellite tags will allow for the comparison of migration patterns and behaviour of these fish.

“This project is an excellent example of how we are working collaboratively to address information gaps on the status of Atlantic halibut in the Gulf. Information from the conventional tagging program will be used to design a Gulf-wide tagging program, which is needed to estimate abundance and exploitation rates for this important commercial stock,” said Earle McCurdy, President, FFAW-Unifor.

The experience of FFAW harvesters complemented the scientific expertise of the staff at the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research who worked on the project.

“This collaborative halibut tagging initiative by the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research and the FFAW is a model for successful academic-government-industry partnerships applying both established and emerging technologies towards the common goal of providing new information on the status of a valuable fisheries resource of Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Dr Dominique Robert, Research Scientist, Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research at the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University.

Since 2010, the Provincial Government has committed C$15.1 million to the Marine Institute’s Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research, which conducts research into the health of various species, climate change impacts, and fishery sustainability.

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