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Measuring Marine Plastics in Canada's Northern Waters


Irving Shipbuilding and the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction & Response Network (MEOPAR) are providing $137,600 in research support for Memorial University of Newfoundland.  The funding is focused on the creation of an effective monitoring of marine plastics which will guide future responses to this important pollution issue.

Currently, Canada lacks a long-term monitoring program for marine plastics in Canada's North, so a baseline of the problem is not yet available.

Dr. Max Liboiron of Memorial University says that by assessing marine plastic quantities, types, and sources; her research team will be able to establish the first comprehensive baseline in Canada’s northern waters.

"We are developing and evaluating three approaches for monitoring marine plastics: biological monitoring, citizen science trawls, and shoreline sampling for icy and rocky coasts.

The project will establish a methodology for plastic sampling in the North. The data and analysis will allow environmental managers, communities, and policy makers to develop effective response plans to deal with marine plastic pollution in the future.

Three research positions will be created by this project:

• 1 Master’s student (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
• 2 Research assistants (Memorial University of Newfoundland)


• Nunavut Arctic College and Research Institute
• Scope Ecological
• Memorial University of Newfoundland
• Carleton University
• Environment Canada, Ecotoxicology and Wildlife Health Division
• Memorial University of Newfoundland Undergraduate Career Experience Program
• 5 Gyres
• Coastal Connections
• Let’s Talk Science
• Acadia University 
• Civic Laboratory (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
• Marine Debris Tracker

Read more about MEOPAR and Irving Shipbuilding’s joint funding of Canadian oceans research

Learn more about Dr. Liboiron's work on plastic pollution here. 


The Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) is strengthening Canada’s ability to anticipate and respond to marine risk.  Established in 2012 through the Federal Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence Program, MEOPAR funds interdisciplinary academic research, trains highly qualified personnel with expertise in marine risk and response, and connects academic research and technology to national and international partners in government, industry and the private sector.  To learn more, please visit

About Irving Shipbuilding Inc.:

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is part of the J.D. Irving, Limited Group of companies which includes operations in Agriculture, Construction & Equipment, Consumer Products, Energy, Food, Forestry & Forestry Products, Retail & Distribution and Shipbuilding & Industrial Fabrication. Its primary site is the Halifax Shipyard, with four other locations in the Maritime Provinces. In 2011, Irving Shipbuilding was selected as Canada’s Combatant Shipbuilder under the merit-based National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy and is in the early stages of a 30-year military shipbuilding program.   

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