Investigation of Local Fisheries Resources of the Labrador Coast

     Dr. Joe Wroblewski and  his graduate students are investigating local fisheries resources of the southeastern Labrador coast which are utilized by coastal communities, but which have not been scientifically documented. We are working with Labrador residents to study the ecology of these living marine resources. We have focused on bay cod and Icelandic scallop, specifically to understand the productivity of the wild stocks and the potential for aquaculture (Wroblewski et al., 1998).
     One of our projects is located in Gilbert Bay, southern Labrador. From a historical description of the Labrador cod fishery (Powell, 1987) and interviews of local fishers by regional officers from the provincial fisheries department, we learned of the existence of a local population of northern cod in Gilbert Bay (Wroblewski, 2000). These bay cod were found to be genetically distinguishable from offshore cod (Ruzzante, et al., 2000), confirming that the stock is indeed a local resource. Sonic tagging and tracking experiments conducted from 1996-99 demonstrated that these cod remain in the bay year-round (Green and Wroblewski, 2000). This research is conducted in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Labrador Fishermen Union Shrimp Co. and the White Bear Development Association. In response to these findings, the communities of Williams Harbour and Port Hope Simpson asked DFO to consider Gilbert Bay as a marine protected area.  In 2005 Gilbert Bay was announced by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada as the first Marine Protected Area in eastern Canada's subarctic coastal zone established and managed under the Oceans Act.

Dr. Joe Wroblewski

Publication on the fish fauna of Gilbert Bay

Photo Gallery of Labrador Research

 Gilbert Bay Exhibit at The Provincial Museum


Gosse, K. and  J. Wroblewski. 2004. Variant colorations of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in Newfoundland and Labrador nearshore waters. ICES Journal of Marine Science 61: 752-759.

Green, J.M. and J.S. Wroblewski. 2000. Movement patterns of Atlantic cod in Gilbert Bay, Labrador: evidence for bay residency and spawning site fidelity. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 80: 1077-1085.

Powell, B.W. Sr. 1987. The Letter That Was Never Read (A History of the Labrador Fishery), Good Tidings Press, St. Johnís, 190p.

Ruzzante, D.E., J.S. Wroblewski, C.T. Taggart, R.K. Smedbol, D. Cook and S.V. Goddard. 2000. Bay-scale population structure in coastal Atlantic cod in Labrador and Newfoundland, Canada. Journal of Fish Biology, 56: 431-447.

Smedbol, R.K. and J.S. Wroblewski. 2002. Metapopulation theory and northern cod population structure: interdependency of subpopulations in recovery of a groundfish population. Fisheries Research 55: 161-174.

Wroblewski. J. 2000. The colour of cod: fishers and scientists identify a local cod stock in Gilbert Bay, southern Labrador. In: Finding Our Sea Legs: Linking Fishery People and Their Knowledge with Science and Management (B. Neis and L. Felt, eds.). ISER Books, Memorial University, St. Johnís. p72-81

Wroblewski, J.S., W.L. Bailey and J. Russell. 1998. Grow-out cod farming in southern Labrador. Bull. Aquaculture Assn. Canada 98-2: 47-49.

Wroblewski, J.S., L.K. Kryger-Hann, D.A. Methven and R.L. Haedrich. 2007. The fish fauna of Gilbert Bay, Labrador: a marine protected area in the Canadian subarctic coastal zone. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 87:

Wroblewski, J., B. Neis and K. Gosse. 2005. Inshore stocks of Atlantic cod are important for rebuilding the East Coast fishery. Coastal Management 33: 411-432.

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