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Huntsman Overview

There is no other institution in Canada like the Huntsman – a private not-for-profit social enterprise with an oceans focused mission that also conducts world-class aquatic contract research services. Our storied past is intertwined with giants in the fields of aquatic and fisheries research. And to locate the Huntsman within beautiful St. Andrews-by-the-Sea exemplifies sage wisdom indeed.

The Huntsman idea began in 1967, with Dr. John Anderson leading the charge, and testing the concept through the Visiting Investigators Program at the St. Andrews Biological Station in 1968. Success of this program provided further impetus to proceed with legal incorporation of the Huntsman Marine Laboratory in early 1969 as a completely separate, federally incorporated, non-profit, registered charitable organization. Our initial membership involved a consortium of 20 universities and several government departments that came together to become a “co-operative venture in learning.” In 1987, our name was formally changed to The Huntsman Marine Science Centre to better reflect our growth from simply being a field station to operating as an important regional centre, but our overall mission and vision did not change.

As we neared our 30th year in 1999, the financial model of the Huntsman presented significant challenges for our long-term sustainability as the university members could no longer sustain the increasing costs to maintain the operations and no single university was willing to step up to assume our overall administrative and financial responsibility. Earlier in 1997, the Future Directions Committee of the Board of Directors had recommended to operate the Huntsman with two separate divisions – an Education and University Research Division and a Contract Research and Development Division. Indeed, Dr. John Anderson wrote in our 1998-99 Annual Report that:

“…the more interesting challenge will be to involve University researchers in the conduct of,
and delivery to industry, of aquaculture-oriented R&D. This is surely a win/win/win/win opportunity for universities, industry, government, and Huntsman.”

His words were focused on the aquaculture industry but today, at the time of this writing in early 2021 and now past 50 years of age, Huntsman is meeting this challenge as we presently operate with two primary “divisions” that together, along with separate Hospitality and Vessel Departments, drive our revenue generation activities:

  • Education & Outreach – Academic (University), Public Education and the Fundy Discovery Aquarium remain our priority areas of activity within this single consolidated department. New to the mix is a focus on the tourism “edutainment” sector (through Huntsman Marine Experiences™) and a strong outreach component as a means to capture the imaginations and expose a greater cross-section of society to the importance and wonders of our oceans.

  • Aquatic Biosciences – The aquaculture sector remains one of our top target sectors for on-site contract research activities through Breeding & Genetics but we have also diversified our expertise to include Aquatic Animal Health and Aquatic Toxicology. This department also presently includes Taxonomy & Biodiversity to round out our extensive aquatic research facilities and expertise within a single operational department. The win/win/win/win opportunity as described by Dr. Anderson decades ago has come to fruition as our research activities typically also involve more than 10 graduate students and Post-doctoral Fellows at any given moment in time from numerous institutions across Canada.


Huntsman has been privileged to receive numerous organization level and individual awards over the years, including:



Dr. Ben de Jourdan recognized as the 2020 Star Mentor of the Year within the Institution category by the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation R3 awards.



Dr. Amber Garber honoured by receiving a New Brunswick R3 Innovator Award for her scientific leadership in the Atlantic salmon selective breeding program at the Huntsman alongside industry partner Northern Harvest Sea Farms.



Huntsman awarded with a New Brunswick Innovation Research Chair in Aquatic Biosciences position with a focus on aquatic animal health research.



Atlantic Reference Centre received the Gulf of Maine Visionary Award for a New Brunswick organization from the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment in recognition of its collections and research services.



Huntsman recognized as Canada’s Top Employer of Youth for New Brunswick by the Conference Board of Canada.



Huntsman presented with the Federal Department of Environment EMAN’s “Patricia Roberts-Pichette Award” for enthusiastic leadership and commitment to advancing ecological monitoring and research in Canada.



Huntsman receives the first ever Gulf of Maine Visionary Award by the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment in recognition of our past accomplishments and unique ability to bring the marine environment and related issues to the forefront of public attention.


Inka Milewki, Public Education Coordinator, selected winner of the James Centorino Award for Distinguished Performance in Marine Education by the National Marine Educators Association. In presenting the award, Dr. Jim Lanier, a colleague from a marine centre in North Carolina noted “that the Huntsman’s Public Education program is unique not only to the Maritimes but to all of Canada.”

Dr. Archibald Gowanlock Huntsman – Our Namesake


The Huntsman Marine Science Centre is named in honour of Dr. Archibald Gowanlock Huntsman (born at Tintern, ON 1883; died at St Andrews, NB 1973). Dr. Huntsman was a preeminent and pioneering oceanographer and marine scientist. He co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and books on a wide range of marine biology topics and collaborated extensively with colleagues across Canada and internationally. These accomplishments are even more remarkable given that Dr. Huntsman received his formal education with a focus on medicine from the University of Toronto (Bachelor of Arts 1905 and Bachelor of Medicine 1907), although he never practiced medicine. His life’s work in the marine sciences was later recognized with Doctorate degrees honoris causa from Memorial University of Newfoundland (1967) and University of Toronto (1969).

In 1911, Dr. Huntsman took on the role as Curator of the fledgling St. Andrews Station on behalf of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada. He was later appointed to be Director in St. Andrews, and held this position until 1934, while concurrently serving as the Director of the newly established Fisheries Experimental Station in Halifax, NS from 1924 to 1928. Dr. Huntsman continued his association with the Fisheries Research Board after his directorship by serving as the editor of its publications from 1934 to 1949 and as a Consulting Director until retiring in 1953.

Dr. Huntsman was honoured often by scientific societies in Canada, United States of America and United Kingdom. He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 1916, serve as its President in 1938, and received its Flavelle Medal in 1952 “for an outstanding contribution to biological science during the preceding ten years or for significant additions to a previous outstanding contribution to biological science.” His legacy was further solidified in 1980 when the A.G. Huntsman Award for Excellence in the Marine Sciences was established. The award is now recognized as a major international prize, presented by the Royal Society of Canada, to honour marine scientists of any nationality who have had and continue to have a significant influence on the course of marine scientific thought. Dr. Huntsman was also commemorated on 17 March 2000 when Canada Post issued a stamp in his honour – The Fisherman’s Friend – as part of The Millennium Collection.

It is very fitting that our institution was named in his honour. In August 1970, Dr. Huntsman was present to cut the ceremonial ribbon during the First Annual Meeting of the Huntsman Marine Laboratory. Dr. W. Bev Scott (another Huntsman Marine Science Centre luminary) wrote that Huntsman’s “…works were truly pioneering and far in advance of contemporary thinking. His writings and discourses characteristically challenged accepted or established thought. Indeed, this attitude of critical appraisal is not only characteristic but also one of his most valuable contributions to science.”


We welcome you to explore our website to learn who we are, what we stand for, and see our mission in action to ensure a sustainable future for our coastal communities and ocean resources. A detailed timeline of Huntsman education and research milestones may be accessed from within those specific pages.

If you, too, are inspired to support the Huntsman mission then please donate or choose other ways to support the Huntsman mission today!

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