Atlantic Science Enterprise Centre

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Moncton, New Brunswick
What the facility does

Science activities related to fish populations, shellfish aquaculture, aquatic animal health, freshwater and coastal ecology, marine mammals, oceanography and ocean literacy in support of fisheries and ocean management

Areas of expertise

The Atlantic Science Enterprise Centre (ASEC) (Gulf Fisheries Centre) is currently focused on mandated science activities under the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and is developing comprehensive partnerships to create a multi‐disciplinary research institute that will be focused on providing science-based solutions that conserve and protect Canada’s freshwater and coastal ecosystems. The ASEC has the potential to assist coastal Canada to understand, adapt and be resilient in a changing world.

Our science expertise encompasses biology, genetics, stock assessment, aquaculture, oceanography, and aquatic animal health. Our research and monitoring activities occur mostly in the Southern Gulf of St-Lawrence and associated river drainage basins. A core area is Atlantic salmon science, diagnostic testing for aquatic animal pathogens, eDNA and modelling. New programs include freshwater habitat effectiveness science and North Atlantic Right Whale monitoring.

The laboratories are located primarily in Moncton, New Brunswick, housing fish biological and genetic labs, with a year-round Miramichi River Research Field Station, and a unique Aquatic Containment Level 3 (AQC3) biocontainment laboratory in Charlottetown

This is one of three DFO ISO certified aquatic animal health labs.

We also have a substantial at-sea field component relying mainly on two dedicated science vessels within the Canadian Coast Guard (Perley, Teleost), and special commercial charter for world-class snow crab monitoring program, plus many other smaller boats. Other at-sea field activities include whale surveillance using aircraft and underwater equipment.

Research services
  • Fish field monitoring and population assessment
  • Fish pathogen diagnostics – molecular, cell culture and histology
  • Fish population modelling
  • Oceanographic, coastal and freshwater physical-biochemical monitoring and modelling
  • Assessment of aquatic habitat conservation effectiveness
Sectors of application
  • Aerospace and satellites
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Education
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Ocean industries
Specialized labEquipmentFunction
 Multi-Electronic Automatic Oceanographic Buoy, model AZMP-ESGViking oceanographic buoy that measure atmospheric and ocean parameters at high frequency and transmit the data in real time.
 Applied Biosystems Quantstudio 12K Real-time PCR System A real-time PCR platform with interchangeable blocks,  allowing the process of 96, or 384 wells plates, TaqMan Array cards, which can be ordered in multiple formats (samples x assays), and OpenArrays which are further increasing the capacity.
 Ocean Marine Industries ARIS Explorer 1800 Sonar (1.8 and 1.1 MHz)ARIS (Adaptive Resolution Imaging Sonar) is a short range high resolution fish detection underwater camera.
 Steris Steam Sterilizer, model SV-160HThis medium sized autoclave uses pressure and steam to reach and maintain a temperature that is too high for any microorganisms or their spores to live. Used to sterilize instruments, media and reagents, as well as laboratory waste prior to disposal.
Gulf Biocontainment UnitLive finfish, shellfish and crustacean holding units High-level aquatic containment facility (level 3) with aquaria tanks for fish and shellfish that conducts research with infectious disease agents of fish exotic or with limited distribution in Canada in vivo.
National Aquatic Animal Health Program laboratoryBio-Rad qPCR machinesConducts diagnostics and research (regulatory and non-regulatory activities) associated with infectious agents that cause diseases of fish and shellfish. A variety of techniques and equipment utilized to support, fish dissection, molecular, histological and culture based methodologies as well as forensics and environmental eDNA tool development and testing.
National Aquatic Animal Health Program laboratoryLiquid robotic handling robots 
National Aquatic Animal Health Program laboratoryBiocontainment and chemical hoods 
National Aquatic Animal Health Program laboratoryLight microscopes 
National Aquatic Animal Health Program laboratoryCentrifuges (various sizes)Refrigerated and non-refrigerated.
National Aquatic Animal Health Program laboratoryIncubators 
National Aquatic Animal Health Program laboratoryLyophilizer 
National Aquatic Animal Health Program laboratoryUltralow freezers (with CO2 backup) 
National Aquatic Animal Health Program laboratorySlide strainers 
Portable LabsA mobile lab equipped with small flow through aquariaA mobile unit that can be installed on wharves to conduct flow through live shellfish research within the ecosystem of inquiry.
Oceanographic equipmentSeabrid Microcats with O2 sensor and/or ph sensorsEquipment deployed to measure marine environmental variables.
Oceanographic equipmentAcoustic Doppler Current profiler (ADCP), 1200 KHzEquipment deployed for hydrodynamic profiling.
Oceanographic equipmentGuildline Instruments Autosal Salinometer Equipment deployed for salinity profiling.
Oceanographic equipmentAutonomous monitoring buoyCoastal water quality monitoring buoy equipped with multi-parameter probe, solar power and cellular or satellite data transmission.
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • National Research Council
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Canadian Space Agency
  • Transport Canada
  • Agriculture and Agrifood Canada
Driving Innovation: Atlantic Science Enterprise Centre
Aquaculture Research: Shedding light on the effects of oyster farming
Aquatic Animal Health Gulf Biocontainment Unit
Women of science in the Gulf Region
Science at the Frontline: Regulatory Diagnostic Testing for Aquatic Animal Health in Canada