Creating a Marine Network Plan Together for Gros Morne, NL

Marine Research
& Submersible ROV Technology
Video Courtesy of Wildland Tours
A Plan for Sustainable Livelihoods and Marine Conservation

Mapping the region with local fish harvesters. EAC Photo

AHOI is teaming up with the Ecology Action Centre (EAC), the Bonne Bay Marine Station-Grenfell Campus of Memorial University (BBMS), and Tour Gros Morne for a new project aimed at gathering important baseline data to enrich EAC's community-led marine spatial plan for the Gros Morne region. 

 

Combining the knowledge and experience of experts and local fish harvesters, along with newly purchased deep water technology, AHOI will help the partners and community members identify, document and report on various marine environments within Gros Morne. This project will focus on areas that may have environmental damage or are home to significant marine habitats and species that may need improved conservation or protection.

The data collected will inform the marine plan EAC is building with the region to identify best-fit areas for improved conservation or protection as well as, areas most suitable for sustainable economic development and fisheries, continued and future research, and recreation. The video footage collected will also be invaluable when creating restoration projects or mitigation measures for sites that may be found to already experience or be susceptible to, environmental damage. This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Environmental Damages Fund. 

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Diving into Marine Research

AHOI will map out, film and analyze 15 sites throughout the Gros Morne region. To do this we will be using a research-grade "Deep Trekker" drone or ROV (remote operated vehicle) that is equipped to withstand the harsh conditions of the Atlantic Ocean and travel 300m to the cold depths of the fjord basins in Bonne Bay. AHOI will be travelling as far north as Cow Head, right down to the southern parts of Trout River and every where in between here in Gros Morne!

This project will pay particular attention to areas where:

  • Sensitive or at-risk fish and other marine species have been documented;

  • Habitats are known to have important or rare arctic corals, wolfish and red fish species;

  • Spawning sites have been identified for fish stocks in the critical or cautious zone;

  • Aquatic invasive species have been identified;

  • Eelgrass and kelp forests exist;

  • Unsustainable fishing practices have been identified;

  • Dumping or sewage outflows have been on-going or observed; 

  • Oil spills and natural oil seepage has occurred.

AHOI's new ROV looking over beautiful Bonne Bay in Norris Point, NL.

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Community-led Approach to Planning
 

AHOI will conduct its underwater research and analysis until the end of March 2023. It will take place throughout Bonne Bay, St. Paul’s Inlet and the coastal and marine management areas surrounding the towns of Glenburnie - Birchy Head - Shoal Brook (GBS), Woody Point, Norris Point, Rocky Harbour, Cow Head, St. Paul’s, and Trout River. 

Our partners at the EAC will also continue consulting with local fish harvesters, scientific experts, tourism business operators and community stakeholders as the project unfolds to identify the most important marine areas to explore. Working with the community will not only provide the opportunity to share the project as we go but also, gather new input needed to ensure the Gros Morne marine plan will support a sustainable blue economy that also promotes ocean health to improve our marine biodiversity.

 

All 7 municipal councils in the Gros Morne region support this project and AHOI looks forward to showcasing what they find with the public at the BBMS Aquarium and, creating solutions with the region to improve the health of these marine ecosystems.

“One of the challenges with marine planning is that we often run into knowledge gaps because it is so difficult to study marine species in deep and cold areas ... Having a research-grade drone to work with will allow us to gather some really amazing information and footage to inform conversations with communities.”   

 -- Jordy Thomson, Senior Marine Coordinator with project partner, the Ecology Action Centre 

Want to find out more, or get involved in this project?
 
  • Listen to our Interview with CBC  (10-minute mark).

  • Check out our Press Release.

  • Check out EAC's Presentation about the community-led marine spatial plan.

  • Use your voice to show support for the EAC community-led marine spatial plan by answering some questions in this survey (for anyone who lives, works in or loves Gros Morne).

  • Contact us to learn how you can support our programs or get involved!​

The Pivot ROV for underwater research.  Deep Trekker video 

Project Partners

This project is a collaborative effort between our fantastic partners and is made possible through funding from the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada. 

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