Port au Port Fishery Committee – Assistance Required

The Port au Port Fishery Committee has  recently been formed, as they have concerns regarding their local environment. Specifically, they are looking for research into the below three topics, all of which are related. More information on these issues can be heard during a Fisheries Broadcast interview here (March 12th, 10 minutes to the end of broadcast), during another CBC interview here, in the attached media releases, and in photos here.


  1. The Collapse of the Scallop Fishery in Port au Port Bay.  The objective of the research project would be to investigate and research  the causes for this collapse and recommend any possible remediation. Potential factors may be climate change (warmer water temperatures, carbon dioxide absorption and acidification of ocean, etc.), pollution,  human waste, petroleum and pathogens. One aspect of this would be scientific testing on the scallops to check for contaminants.


  1. Pollution Risks  to the Marine Environment of Port au Port Bay . The objective of the research project would be to identify and quantify sources of pollution in the Port au Port Bay area and determine the degree of risk they propose to the marine ecosystem and recommend  any possible remediation.  There are at least thirteen and possibly more abandoned oil drilling sites on Shoal Point. Some of these sites were once on land but now due to coastal erosion are now located offshore in the coastal waters and some are leaking oily substances – probably petroleum. There are also other abandoned dump and oil tank sites around the coast of the bay that appear to  be leaking toxic substances into the environment on land as well as into the bay.


  1. Climate Change Impacts on the Marine and Coastal Ecosystem of Port au Port Bay.  Coastal erosion, tidal surges and extreme weather associated with climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity in the Port au Port Bay Area.  There has been  some relatively recent research done focusing on climate change impacts on communities in the Port au Port region (Norm R. Catto, Memorial University, Department of Geography).  Additional more site specific research is needed  on  vulnerable geographic locations in the Port au Port Bay area such as Shoal Point and the coast from Port au Port East to Fox Island River where significant, rapid coastal erosion is happening.  More site specific information and baseline data is required pertaining to the rate and extent of coastal erosion that has occurred and  can be anticipated to occur in these sites. Possible remedial strategies also need to be researched.


The committee has approached numerous government departments and agencies that would have an interest in these issues; however, there has been little uptake so far. It would be great if you could share this information with your networks, to see if anyone would like to help the committee try to address any of these issues through collaboration and research. If anyone has any questions, they can contact me and I’ll put them in touch with the committee (at amy.tucker@mun.ca or 709-864-6115)