Research Studies

The ESRF is currently supporting the following research projects:

Southern Region

Investigation of effects of East Coast Canada Water Accommodated Fraction and Chemically Enhanced Water Accommodated Fraction on Early Life Stages of Commercially Harvested Marine Species (ESRF Project 2014-04S).

The potential effects of exposure of commercial fish species to a crude oil spill and any dispersants used to mitigate the effects of such a spill are a concern. This study examines the toxicology of those fractions of a representative east coast crude oil that are entrained in water, both naturally and as a result of dispersant use, to the early life stages of Atlantic herring, Atlantic cod, American lobster and Northern shrimp

Assessment of potential risks of seismic surveys to affect groundfish resources (ESRF Project 2018-01S).

Oil and gas exploration in Southern Atlantic frontier regions has been very active at a time when the fishing industry in this same area is becoming increasingly reliant on the rebuilding groundfish fishery. The effects of ocean noise on marine life is a growing concern globally, however the specific impacts including non-lethal effects and how they are manifested remains poorly defined for many species groups including fish. This project will examine potential risks of seismic air gun surveys to affect commercially important and culturally important groundfish species, including commercial catchability, and fish behaviour (movement).


Atlantic salmon in the Eastern Canadian offshore regions (ESRF Regions 8 to 15): timing, duration and the effects of environmental variability and climate change (ESRF Project 2019-01S). Of the Atlantic Canadian fish species, Atlantic salmon has one of the most complex life histories and migration patterns. Post-spawned adult (kelt) and juvenile (post-molt) salmon migrate from their native freshwater river to the Atlantic ocean to feed, sometimes even as far as the Labrador Sea. This project will use acoustic and satellite telemetry to better understand the migratory behaviour (location and habitat use) of salmon while at sea. The objective of this project is to determine when, where and for how long Atlantic salmon from different life stages (juvenile post-smolt, post-spawned kelt and multi-sea winter adults) are in the Eastern Canadian offshore regions. Results will support regulatory decision making in Canada’s areas of offshore oil and gas activity. You can follow the tagging of Atlantic salmons on the project Facebook page.

Laying the Groundwork: Enhancing Cross Cultural Understanding through Two-Eyed Seeing (ESRF Project 2020-01S)

The purpose of this Project is to promote the understanding of Indigenous knowledge and appropriate use of Indigenous knowledge in decision-making on offshore oil and gas projects in Atlantic Canada. Fundamental to this is the need to build a common and consistent understanding of Indigenous Knowledge concepts within the oil and gas industry. This project will use the knowledge system approach to enhance cross-cultural understanding, focusing on what is Indigenous knowledge, the relation between the Indigenous and Western knowledge systems and ways both can be used for the benefit of all, using the concept of Two-Eyed Seeing.

Northern Region

There is no ESRF project in the north at the moment.

Proactive disclosure of funding agreements

Information on funding agreements within the ESRF over $25,000.