CHONe-DFO Laurentian Channel Research Cruise
July 6-17, 2018
Photo: Laurentian Channel Cruise 2017 / Photo Credit: ROPOS
The 2018 Laurentian Channel Research Cruise, July 6-17, is the second of two missions in a joint strategic research program between the Canadian Healthy Oceans Network (CHONe), and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). The team of participants from CHONe, DFO Maritimes, and DFO NL work together to study biological communities in the Laurentian Channel Area of Interest (AOI). Their mission: contribute to marine conservation-related research.
More specifically, the cruise aims to develop scientific survey approaches to address seafloor ecology research and to develop effective monitoring approaches for deep-water areas of conservation interest, including AOIs, AOIs for listing as MPAs, and formally established MPAs.
The Laurentian Channel Area of Interest
The Laurentian Channel is a submarine valley located on the east coast of Canada that spans from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the edge of the continental shelf off Newfoundland. A portion of the Laurentian Channel was designated as an Area of Interest (AOI) in 2010. The AOI is 11,619 km2 (twice the size of Prince Edward Island) and was designated to protect: black dogfish; two species at risk, the northern wolffish and the leatherback sea turtle; and serves as an important location in the life history of porbeagle sharks, smooth skates, and marine mammals. Beyond these species currently addressed in the AOI, there are also very abundant sea pens and other corals – one of the foci of the expedition.
Currently the Laurentian Channel AOI is a prospective Marine Protected Area (MPA) which, if officially established, would result in increased conservation measures to protect biodiversity in the area. The Government of Canada has committed to protecting 10% of marine and coastal areas by 2020, and this would include the Laurentian Channel Marine Protected Area.
Click here to read more about CHONe’s research during the 2018 Laurentian Channel Mission.
Stay tuned for web features on the CHONe researchers and students taking part in the mission.