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Letter - Dec.12,2012

posted Mar 1, 2013, 6:51 AM by SOS SaveOceanScience
Letter - Dec.12,2012 - Rémy Rochette, PhD Professor and Chair, Biology Department University of New Brunswick (Saint John) to  Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

December 12, 2012


Gail Shea, P.C., M.P.

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

House of Commons

Ottawa, Ontario

K1A 0A6

Honorable Minister Shea,


I am writing this letter in support of ongoing efforts to save the library of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ St. Andrews Biological Station (SABS) in St Andrews, New Brunswick. 


I realize you have already heard from a number of groups that are trying to save the SABS’s library from closure. I am writing this letter in support of these initiatives as Chair of the Biology Department at the University of New Brunswick (Saint John campus) and as Coordinator of a special program in marine sciences we offer in St Andrews during the fall semester, which greatly benefits from the SABS’ library.


The Bachelor of Sciences in Marine Biology is one of the flagship programs of UNB’s Saint John campus. We are currently one of only 3 Canadian universities that offer a Major in Marine Sciences, and as such we draw students from different parts of the country and also internationally. One of the major strengths of this program is our Marine Semester, which we offer during the fall semester at the Huntsman Marine Sciences Centre in St Andrews. This Marine Semester is now an integral component and major draw to our Marine Biology program. For example, there are approximately 38 students from the Maritimes, Ontario, British Columbia and Australia that are currently competing for the 18-20 seats that are available for the 2013 Marine Semester.


The raison d'être of our Marine Semester is to provide students with unique experiential learning opportunities beyond what is possible in a traditional campus setting. The semester is entirely built around problem solving and critical thinking, by way of numerous projects that are done in the field and in the lab through a high level of interaction among students and between students and instructors. 


The Huntsman Marine Sciences Centre is uniquely situated for this program, providing easy access to different coastal habitats as well as scientists and facilities of the SABS. For example, our students are given full access to the SABS library to initiate and support the numerous projects they work on throughout the 12-week semester. The SABS library has an exceptional diversity of holdings in marine sciences, many of which are not accessible through our university electronic services. Most importantly the SABS library holds numerous technical reports and specialized publications that are specific to the Quoddy region and immediately available and relevant to the students; these publications serve as the foundation for a great number of student projects throughout the semester. The closure of the library would result in the loss of a truly unique and useful resource for students of our Marine Semester, and we urge you to explore all possible options to keep it open. I realize that the DFO is currently confronted with significant challenges, but I truly believe closing the SABS library would represent a grave mistake in the long run.



Respectfully yours,   




Rémy Rochette, PhD

Professor and Chair, Biology Department

University of New Brunswick (Saint John)

100 Tucker Park Road, P.O. Box 5050

Saint John, NB, E2L 4L5


Tel: 506 648-5988

Fax: 506 648-5811


Learn more about the Marine Semester

Visit the Rochette Lab



cc:        John Williamson, MP


The Honourable Mike Olscamp, M.L.A.

            Minister, Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick


Curtis Malloch, M.L.A.

Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick