Canada invests $80 million in science to protect waters from oil spills

Fisheries and Oceans Canada/Twitter

The Government of Canada has committed more than CA$80 million (US$62.1 million) in new science funding for improved knowledge and new technologies to help mitigate and prevent marine incidents including oil spills.

Funded through the $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, the $45.5 million Multi-Partner Research Initiative will include a $10 million-a-year research fund to bring scientists together to improve our collective understanding of how oil spills behave, how best to clean and contain them, and how to best minimise their environmental impacts.

The funding also includes $16.8 million to support oil spill research to better understand how oil behaves and degrades in different conditions, including cold water. Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) will receive $10.8 million and Natural Resources Canada will receive $6 million.

Canada’s Centre of Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research in Halifax, Nova Scotia, will increase its research capacity with more scientists and specialised equipment.

Funding will also go to external researchers across the country to study how various oil contaminants affect fish and other aquatic organisms.

Another $17.7 million will go towards enhancing ocean models of winds, waves and currents, so that emergency responders can accurately track spills and predict their path. Enhanced ocean modelling will also support safe marine navigation and help prevent spills from happening.

DFO’s National Contaminants Advisory Group (NCAG) will administer the projects on oil and gas contaminants, which will help inform the Department’s decision-making on how to protect and use our marine and freshwater environments.

Advanced ocean modelling work will be conducted in six priority ports: Kitimat,  Port-Metro Vancouver, Fraser River Port, Port of Canso, Port of Saint John and St Lawrence River from Quebec City to Montreal.

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