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"Have your car maintained regularly to prevent oil, antifreeze, and other fluid leaks. Remember, the ocean begins at your front door!"

Community Aquatic Monitoring Program

The Community Aquatic Monitoring Program (CAMP) is a DFO sponsored program that provides guidance for community based groups in the monitoring of their local waterway. GAMS is the organization responsible for organizing sampling in the Cheticamp Harbour.

GAMS and community members who volunteer to sample use a standard method developed by the DFO to maintain a scientific record of the health of the harbour. A scientific record maximizes the ability of the DFO to see patterns in the data which reflect changes in the harbour, and repsond to those changes in a timely manner.

Each month from May to September, GAMS, community volunteers, and a DFO employee sample 6 sites around the Cheticamp Harbour, taking a number of important measurements.
  • A 30 meter seine net is used to capture a sample of aquatic organisms in the harbour, including fish and crustaceans. The number of each species is counted and recorded, and then all animals are set free.
  • A quadrat is used to sample the cover of a variety of algae (seaweed) species.
  • Statistics reflecting the condition of the water are measured, including pH (acidity), temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen.
  • Water samples are taken to DFO laboratories for analysis.
This information allows DFO scientists to analyze nutrient levels, community structure, and other parameters, so that they can not only spot changes but also identify the cause of the changes in the harbour.

CAMP is a great way for people of all ages to get involved in their community and engage with their local environment. It is also lots of fun for kids (who are always welcome to participate), and an enjoyable learning experience for anyone interested in science or aquatic life.

For more information about CAMP, visit the DFO website.

To find out about the next sampling date in Cheticamp and how you can get involved, contact GAMS by phone at 224-1623 or send us an email at

To see photos of the latest CAMP excursion, check out the GAMS Facebook page here. Don't forget to "Like" us!