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REF NO.: 1

SUBJECT: Diving in: Memorial University opens new marine station focused on the unique marine ecosystem of Newfoundland

DATE: Sept. 6

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.

Gerry Byrne, minister of state for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA); Kelvin Parsons, provincial minister of Industry, Trade and Rural Development; Mr. Robert Hicks, chairman of the Gros Morne Co-operating Association; and Dr. Axel Meisen, president and vice-chancellor of Memorial University, officially opened the Bonne Bay Marine Station today.

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 construction of this $3.2 million facility was funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency; the Gros Morne Co-operating Association, the Department of Industry, Trade and Rural Development, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador; and Memorial University. The station is operated jointly by the Gros Morne Co-operating Association and Memorial University.

"This facility demonstrates the Government of Canada's continued commitment to the research and development capacity of Memorial University and this province," said Minister Byrne. "It not only opens opportunities for our young and experienced researchers alike, but helps ensure continued growth and innovation in our economy."

"This project is a good example of how the Regional Economic Development Boards throughout the province put their strategic economic plans into action to help grow the economy in all regions of the province," said Industry, Trade and Rural Development Minister Kelvin Parsons. "This is also a good example of how partnerships work together to strengthen the economies of rural areas and create employment."

"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. Memorial is grateful for the support and partnership of ACOA, the Gros Morne Co-operating Association and the provincial Department of Industry Trade and Rural Development in this important venture," said Dr. Meisen.

"The facility offers tremendous potential for tourists and local visitors to learn about our marine ecosystem. It will also serve to generate additional tourism expenditures in our communities," said Mr. Hicks. "The partnership between tourism, educational and non-traditional providers will provide an enriched learning experience to visitors. This new facility will be one more reason to visit."

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.

For more information please see Bonne Bay Marine Station.

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