Discovering Marine Science in The...

Discovering Marine Science in The Maritimes

by Jamie Hadland
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New Brunswick is the second largest aquaculture producing province in Canada (behind British Columbia). Each year the province earns hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of aquaculture production. There are currently over 2000 people in the province working as direct employees in various capacities in the aquaculture industry. Due to the important part the industry plays in the province, it is important the public has the opportunity to become educated and engaged in the subject.

The Huntsman Marine Science Centre and Fundy Discovery Aquarium located in St. Andrews, New Brunswick provides a unique and educational aquaculture experience for all ages. The 20,000 square foot facility first opened in 1972, but was re-built and re-opened in September 2011. The centre has a research facility, including labs, where research is being done to find a way to sustain and develop the aquaculture industry.

There are two harbour seals that call the centre home, Snorkel and Loki, who love to entertain the crowds of people who come by to see them. Harbour seals are found in the coastal waters of the Northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Baltic and the North Seas. They are brown, tan or gray in colour with v-shaped nostrils and small ear canals. There are an estimated five to six million harbour seals worldwide. The seals at the aquarium are fed twice a day and enjoy eating fish such as menhaden, anchovy, sea bass, herring, mackerel and cod. They also know a variety of tricks, which they have learned since being in captivity.

There are two touch tanks – one that houses a variety of interesting creatures including sea cucumbers, which are rubbery and slimy and hard to hold on to; clams, which can spit water; and starfish which are hard and prickly. There are an estimated 1800 different species of starfish worldwide. They have a central disk and five arms, though some species have many more. There is also a touch tank designated for skates. There are more than 200 different kinds of skates (and I don’t mean hockey or speed skates!). The skates found at the aquarium are similar to sting rays; they are flat and shaped like a kite and have their eyes located on top of their head. They are found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, and they have a row of spines on their back that can stab and tear if they feel threatened by predators.

Other interesting sights to see at the aquarium include a large sturgeon tank, a yellow lobster named Fiona and a blue lobster named Lily. Only one out of every two million lobsters is blue, and one out of every thirty million lobsters is yellow.

If you enjoy learning about marine life, why not consider becoming a Marine Biologist?

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