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The FFAW Science Program began almost thirty years ago with the cod sentinel programs located on the west and southwest coasts of Newfoundland (3Pn and 4R) and from southern Labrador to the south coast of the Island (2J3KL3Ps).

The Cod Sentinel Programs were developed to document information from inshore fisheries and to help ensure that fish harvesters’ knowledge and on-the-water observations are considered in fisheries science, assessment, and management.

Over the past three decades, the FFAW Science Program has grown to include surveys and research projects for all commercially fished species. Fish harvesters contribute to all aspects of research projects by identifying knowledge gaps and research questions that matter for the fishery, designing projects and surveys to address those gaps, collecting data, and evaluating and communicating results.

The FFAW Science Program is designed so that all harvesters have an equal opportunity to contribute to and benefit from research in their fisheries. Each year hundreds of harvesters participate in long-term surveys of cod, snow crab, lobster, and halibut as well as new projects on mackerel, capelin, seals, shrimp, and lump, among others.

Projects such as lost gear recovery and invasive species removal help ensure healthy marine environments.

FFAW partners with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as researchers at Memorial University and other academic institutions to realize these survey and research projects.

Over the past three decades, we have worked together to build a robust science program that addresses the top priority questions of NL harvesters. Our overall goal remains the same: ensuring the best possible information is collected to support sustainable and healthy fish stocks, fisheries, and fishing communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.