The provincial government is checking its stores in the hope of finding a boat it might be able to retrofit for research purposes, largely in support of the provincial aquaculture industry.
There are no guarantees the right boat will be found.
A new boat was going to be purchased in 2017, as The Telegram reported on the heels of Budget 2017, but nothing was found for the $300,000 to $350,000 the province had budgeted.
Instead of adding more money to the total, the Liberals have gone in the other direction, and are taking another look at what might be sourced internally, then brought up to a required standard.
The budget this year includes a line of $100, “essentially a place holder,” according to Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne, where the money required for upgrades could be legally transferred if an existing boat was found and upgrades determined feasible and financially reasonable.
“We have several boats, some of which may meet specifications,” Byrne told The Telegram Friday.
At its most basic requirements, the boat needs to be able to safely go outside of a bay and spend overnight offshore.
The vessel would be used for aquaculture site visits and biosecurity audits, but also available for oceanography work and applied research, according to information provided in 2017 by the department.
Byrne said the government hopes to have the vessel available for scientific work around new bay management areas on the south coast, in the area of McCallum to Ramea.
The province was previously leasing a vessel for research through the Marine Institute, the MV Anne S. Pierce. The new boat purchase was pursued after that 117-foot training and research vessel faced new mechanical issues and was laid up.