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Marine station opens in Bonne Bay - Diving in

{Bonne Bay Marine Research Centre}
Taking a hands-on approach to the opening of the new Bonne Bay Marine Research Centre are Kelvin Parsons (L), provincial minister of industry, and Gerry Byrne, federal minister responsible for ACOA.

Memorial University's newest state-of-the-art facility, the Bonne Bay Marine Station, will feature laboratories, aquariums, meeting rooms, dock and boat, accommodations wing and other key resources for students, researchers, local communities and tourists interested in learning about the marine ecosystem of the area.

On hand to officially open the Bonne Bay Marine Station on Sept. 6, 2002 were Gerry Byrne, minister of state for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA); Kelvin Parsons, provincial minister of Industry, Trade and Rural Development; Robert Hicks, chairperson of the Gros Morne Co-operating Association; and Dr. Axel Meisen, president of Memorial University. All parties funded the construction of this $3.2 million facility. The station is operated jointly by the Gros Morne Co-operating Association and Memorial University.

Built on the site of Memorial's 30-year old biology field station, the new Bonne Bay Marine Station will serve as a teaching centre for university marine biology and environmental studies students, a research complex and a marine interpretation centre for the public. The station is located at Norris Point, a community of about 900 people, located on the north side of Bonne Bay.

"The Bonne Bay Marine Station will go a long way towards creating greater understanding of the unique marine ecosystem we have in our province and will provide tremendous opportunities for students and researchers," said Dr. Meisen.

Courses offered at the station have been designed to incorporate the unique natural laboratories of the ocean and adjacent lands. University students attend lectures within the station but a great deal of their time is spent on the shores and in the waters surrounding Norris Point.

Oceanographers, biologists and other researchers in the province will conduct their ecosystem research at the facility, and researchers from around the world will, in due course, be able to access the station via the Internet, enabling them to control and monitor experiments remotely. Dr. Robert Hooper, professor of marine biology at Memorial, is the director of the station.

Tourists and local visitors will be able to view an array of exhibits, take guided tours of the station, and visit the gift shop on site.