Huntsman Research

Huntsman is unique in Canada as an ocean focused social enterprise that also serves as a best-in-class aquatic Contract Research Organization. After more than 50 years, Huntsman continues to create a significant impact through world-class aquatic research, as exemplified by the more than 500 peer-reviewed marine science publications supported by our facilities and expertise.
We started to write our aquatic research history in 1974. Our efforts have resulted in seminal literature, multiple Awards of Excellence, and many new species first described to science. Today, research conducted by the Huntsman – within our Aquatic Biosciences department – has a primary focus on breeding & geneticstaxonomy & biodiversity, aquatic toxicology, and aquatic animal health. Our professional research staff provide contract research services to local, regional, national, and global Study Sponsors operating in sectors of the ocean economy including, but not limited to, aquaculture production, animal health, oil production and shipping, chemical supply, pulp and paper, environmental consulting, government, and academia. 
Huntsman research facilities are spread across nine buildings located on our nearly 22.25 hectares (55 total acres) of land in beautiful Saint Andrews by-the-Sea, New Brunswick, Canada. Our dry laboratories are well-appointed to support our study needs with extensive tissue sampling, microscopy, bacteriology, and tissue/data archiving capacity. Our wet laboratory spaces are unmatched throughout the Atlantic region with more than 4,180 covered square meters (45,000 square feet), supplied with pumped natural seawater and freshwater. We have the capacity to maintain many aquatic species in stable cultures, access target life stages for research, produce commercial-scale quantities of live feed, and co-own and curate a 150,000+ lot natural history museum of Atlantic specimens.

Huntsman believes in your purpose and wants to be a part of your solution as it relates to the sustainable use of ocean resources. You can expect the highest level of professional conduct from our Aquatic Biosciences department. Our Study Sponsors also recognize that they are making an invaluable contribution towards the Huntsman mission: to deliver programs in marine education, community outreach and collaborative research. This gives our Study Sponsors a sense of paying it forward, knowing that Huntsman is deploying our resources to better our blue planet!

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. And, of course, reach out to discuss your aquatic research needs. We are certain that we have a solution waiting!
If you, too, are inspired to support graduate student research at Huntsman then please donate today or choose other ways to support the Huntsman mission today!

Huntsman Research Timeline


  • Transgenic Atlantic salmon raised for A/F Protein (Canada) Inc. matured to allow spawning and study the heritability of enhanced growth traits. Huntsman production of transgenic Atlantic salmon and maintenance of a number of brood lines continued to 2004 when these fish were transferred to a dedicated facility belonging to Aqua Bounty Canada in Prince Edward Island.



  • A seawater aquaculture grow-out site was established in Brandy Cove (just offshore from the Huntsman Lower Campus) as a business/technology innovation centre to test new cage designs and evaluate Atlantic salmon diets for Moore-Clark Co. (Canada) as one of Canada’s leading aquaculture feed companies.

  • A consortium of 20 universities and several government departments came together to form the Huntsman Marine Laboratory (name changed to The Huntsman Marine Science Centre in 1987) as a completely separate, federally incorporated, non-profit, registered charitable organization to become a “co-operative venture in learning.” Decades later we now refer to this as a social enterprise.


  • RECOGNITION: Atlantic Reference Centre recipient of the 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.

  • CAPACITY: Seawater system upgrade completed to provide up to 1,000 US Gallons Per Minute of natural seawater.


Huntsman Marine Science Centre Bird Band
  • CAPACITY: New seawater supply system commissioned to provide our research and Fundy Discovery Aquarium operations with up to 3000 US Gallons Per Minute of natural seawater funded by ACOA, Province of New Brunswick and Huntsman.



  • CAPACITY: Construction of wastewater effluent ponds.



  • BREEDING & GENETICS: Established as the Canadian east coast operational hub to maintain cryopreserved milt for Canada Cryogenetics Services Inc.

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  • Contract research at the Huntsman began with responsibility to manage and maintain the North American Salmon Research Centre (NASRC), which was built by the International Atlantic Salmon Foundation (presently ASF) from private funding with operating funds provided by the Department of Fisheries and Environment, Fisheries and Marine Service (presently DFO). Initial efforts ran for a decade to evaluate genetic selection as a tool for increasing the adult return rate in sea ranching efforts.


  • Established the Larval Fish Laboratory at the Huntsman and a key precursor for the eventual Atlantic Reference Centre partnership between Huntsman and Fisheries & Oceans Canada.



  • “Atlantic Fishes of Canada” published by Bev and Milly Scott from their extensive curatorial research completed at the Huntsman – a book still seen as the preeminent Canadian fish-bible by professionals to this day.

  • Sea lice research began at Huntsman with initial studies focused on the biology of three species of sea lice – Caligus curtus, Caligus elongatus and Lepeophtheirus salmonis – from Atlantic salmon cultured in marine waters of the lower Bay of Fundy.


  • St. Andrews Bird Banding Station commences to monitor songbird migrations through the area and now the longest running bird banding station in New Brunswick.



  • Completed construction of the Christofor Research Laboratory built with funds from the Sir James Dunn Foundation and equipped with funds from ACOA.

  • Huntsman established a site on the World Wide Web with the help of the University of New Brunswick.


  • Initiated the Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Development Program, managed by the Huntsman, as a cooperative program between several leading Atlantic salmon farming companies and government agencies to improve performance of farm raised salmon through genetic selection. This program formed the basis for the present Cooke Aquaculture Atlantic salmon broodstock program following industry consolidation.



  • Addition of two large Quonset buildings to accommodate increasing aquaculture activities at the Huntsman focused on sturgeon and halibut.

  • Established a Huntsman Montreal office, with funding from Science Culture Canada, and in association with the Redpath Museum at McGill University to provide information and resource materials for Montreal area teachers and implement an in-class program similar to our success in New Brunswick. This effort was short lived with the office closing in 1991 but demonstrated the potential to export the Huntsman model elsewhere.


  • TAXONOMY & BIODIVERSITY: Established as the Atlantic Office for the global Census of Marine Life's (CoML) nearshore ocean monitoring network for NaGISA until the program wrapped up in 2010.

  • BREEDING & GENETICS: Atlantic cod genomics project launched with pending anticipated investments in facilities and personnel.


A consortium of 20 universities and several government departments came together to form the Huntsman Marine Laboratory (name changed to The Huntsman Marine Science Centre in 1987) as a completely separate, federally incorporated, non-profit, registered charitable organization to become a “co-operative venture in learning.” Decades later we now refer to this as a social enterprise.


  • CAPACITY: Oceans Tomorrow fundraising campaign launched and culminates with the opening of the Fundy Discovery Aquarium.

Aquarium #1.jpg
  • BREEDING & GENETICS: Launch of the Huntsman led Atlantic salmon broodstock program, which has since evolved to be the cornerstone for the pedigreed selective breeding program for Mowi Canada East operations, with ACOA and industry funding and resulting in significant broodstock related instrumentation upgrades.


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  • BREEDING & GENETICS: First application of sea lice infestation model to challenge the 2010 fertilized year class of Atlantic salmon within a pedigreed selective breeding. Every year class since has been challenged with sea lice using the same consistent challenge model.


  • AQUATIC ANIMAL HEALTH: Closed the life cycle of the Atlantic salmon sea lice ectoparasite to consistently supply the infectious life stage for use in research. Huntsman remains the lead supplier of copepodids for research by academic and private facilities throughout Atlantic Canada.


  • AQUATIC TOXICOLOGY: Adult American lobster oral gavage standarized method developed for consistent studies across compounds by Huntsman, particularly for medicated feed exposures.


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

  • AQUATIC TOXICOLOGY: Environmental Studies Research Fund project launched to study the effects of offshore Newfoundland oil and dispersants thereby establishing Huntsman as a credible global laboratory for oil spill toxicology research.

  • BREEDING & GENETICS: First commercial harvest evaluation completed to assess dozens of production and fitness traits following commercial grow-out to support an Atlantic salmon pedigreed selective breeding program.

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  • Opened the modern Atlantic Reference Centre facility on the adjacent St. Andrews Biological Station property with funding from Fisheries & Oceans Canada. The facility still houses the collections today with compactor shelving and proper ventilation while providing space for staff to complete sample processing and research until these operations were moved to our own dedicated Huntsman Taxonomy & Biodiversity laboratory space in 2020.