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"Don't let toxic liquids, such as oil, fuel, or paint, enter storm drains. Remember, the ocean begins at your front door!"



The snow crab fishery is an economic foundation for many Maritime regions, including Cape Breton. The processing of snow crab also produces lots of waste which is expensive to dispose of. GAMS has investigated this problem, and composed a report about how this waste, with some small-scale development, could be turned into a valuable product unto itself. See below, or click here, for the full report.

There are two ways to extract food from the ocean—one is capture fisheries, which have been the backbone of Cape Breton for many decades .The other is aquaculture, which is basically farming in the water. GAMS is conducting an ongoing investigation of oyster populations in Cheticamp for possible aquaculture potential.



GAMS is proud to be a partner of the Community Aquatic Monitoring Program (DFO)! With guidance and standard protocol provided by CAMP, GAMS gathers community volunteers to participate in scientific monitoring of their local marine environment. This is a fun way to introduce people to their local marine fauna and indicators of ecosystem health.

Current research includes our ongoing study of Green crabs, or Carcinus maenas. They are an invasive species imported from Europe, first observed in 1817 in Massachusetts, and later observed in Newfoundland by 2007. It is now found in abundance around Cheticamp and  the gulf. We are interested in learning how the Green crabs are affecting the local eelgrass beds, which act as nurseries for commercially important species, such as lobster. GAMS was also involved in a study of their populations in 2010.


Between 2009-2010 GAMS conducted a study of the distribution of benthic, or bottom-dwelling, species in the Cheticamp Harbour.

GAMS was collaborating with Dr. Mikio Moriyaso of the DFO on a project with aims for “Establishment of Baseline Biological Data on Snow Crab...for future assessment of impacts of Seismic Testing." The Offshore Energy Environmental Research Association (OEER) is also a partner for this project, which began in May 2011.

Climate Change

Rising sea levels, a predicted result of global climate change, will cause our coastlines to shrink and change. GAMS has investigated this climate change indicator in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence through our GIS mapping project, which included spatial and temporal mapping of changes in shorelines and coastal features. This research is still ongoing, as time continues to change the face of our shorelines.

GAMS is providing support for a Dalhousie University project looking at ocean acidification, by working with local fishermen to regularly collect water samples just off Grand Etang.

As our climate and coastline change, our fisheries and tourism practices will have to adapt. GAMS has collaborated with the Ecology Action Centre on their two year project for “Collaborative Research on Climate Change Adaptation for Fisheries and Tourism sectors in Chéticamp.”

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Reports and Publications:

Annual Report 2011-2012:
This past year has been one of growth for GAMs. We have gained new partnerships and strengthened collaborative relationships with others, including Universities, the fishing industry and processors, Federal and Provincial agencies (the DFO Environment Canada, Fisheries and Aquaculture), and the National Park System....Read more!

Feasibility of Producing Value added Products from Snow Crab Processing Waste in Cape Breton, NS:
The snow crab fishery is an economic foundation and way for life for Cape Breton. However, the processing of snow crab produces a significant amount of waste each year that presents disposal problems for snow crab processors. Crustacean shell waste can be used to produce a great variety of products, from simple organic crab shell composts and fertilizers, to crab meals, and finally, to highly refined chitin products for pharmaceuticals, textile production and other uses...Read more!

A Guide for Collaborative Research between Fishermen and Researchers
The Fisherman’s Forum was established to enhance interactions between stakeholders, providing opportunity for local fishing groups, researchers, provincial and federal regulators, and community leaders to meet each other and to discuss issues that affect both the fisheries and the communities that depend on them. This year’s Forum was no exception, and participants gathered to learn about and discuss the impacts of climate change on the fisheries, as well as how fishermen can be better involved in climate change research...Read more!