Ocean Technology


Canada’s Oceans Action Plan states that “Canadian firms have established themselves as world leaders in oceans technology niches”. The Atlantic Canadian ocean technology sector is defined by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) as any firm engaged in the delivery or creation of technology for marine applications, consisting of 137 identified firms. The ocean technology sector includes products and services, the range of products offered includes:

  • Acoustic systems and equipment,
  • Defense systems and equipment,
  • Imaging systems and equipment,
  • Instrumentation and information systems,
  • Marine communications,
  • Navigation, and
  • Platforms and vehicles.

An Industry Profile for Canada’s Ocean Technology, by Industry Canada, illustrates the distribution of firms by province: New Brunswick with 5%, Newfoundland with 6%, Nova Scotia with 13%, and Prince Edward Island with 1%. Other provinces with ocean technology firms include British Columbia (22%), Ontario (29%), and Quebec (16%).

The oceans technologies being widely used in Canada, and by province, are found on the Canadian Ocean Technology Sector interactive asset map, an initiative led by NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, and Ocean Science and Technology Partnership. This interactive map includes knowledge based companies that invent, develop and produce technological products for specific use in or on the ocean, or provide knowledge-intensive, technology-based services, unique to the ocean. 


Atlantic Canada

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) outlines Atlantic Canada’s expertise in ocean technology to be cold water engineering, ocean mapping and charting, instruments and communication, ocean and marine shipboard technology, remote sensing, survival, training, and underwater acoustics. Firms that specialize in these areas are outlined in a four page summary published by ACOA.

The Ocean Technology Council of Nova Scotia (OTCNS) is a not-for profit, business organization that represents the collective interests of companies working in the ocean technology sector in Atlantic Canada. The objectives of the council are: providing information, advocacy, coordination of interests and activities, human resources, and business and export development.  Complete lists of members and associate members are available at

In the report Economic Impact of the New Brunswick Ocean Sector, 2003-2008, marine technology and marine professional services were highlighted to be included in a future update. Marine technology includes navigation equipment, data collection devices and biotechnology, which already exist in New Brunswick but they are difficult to distinguish from land or air technology research and development. It may be possible to track these more clearly in the future.

Marine technology is a significant and growing sector of the Prince Edward Island economy. This sector is concentrated in aquaculture supply and the manufacture of fish processing equipment, although other areas of activity exist such as supplying the shipping and shipbuilding/repair industry. The level of exports for these industries was reported in The Value of the Oceans Sector to the Economy of PEI, 2002, as 95% on average and up to 100% of the production.

A thriving oceans technology cluster in Newfoundland and Labrador is represented by Oceans Advance Inc. and consists of more than 50 companies. Oceans of Opportunity: Newfoundland and Labrador’s Ocean Technology Sector Strategy provides a framework for expanding, developing and attracting ocean’s technology, research, and government policy and programs. 

The Marine Institute of Memorial University, St. John’s Newfoundland, is Canada’s most compressive center for education, training, applied research and industrial support for the oceans industries. The Marine Institute provides more than 20 industry-drive programs ranging from technical certificates to master’s degrees. The Marine Institute’s School of Ocean Technology has taken on the responsibility of developing and delivering education and training, applied research and development programs in various aspects of ocean technology.

The Journal of Ocean Technology is an open access independent quarterly periodical published by the fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University, Newfoundland. Its mission is to expand global knowledge and understanding of ocean technologies, to serve as the medium for publishing world-leading research and to promote innovation that contributes to responsible ocean utilization and management.

Nova Scotia is home to over 450 PhD’s in oceans-related disciplines, the highest in the world. Defined by the Sea: Nova Scotia’s Ocean Technology Sector, Present and Future reports that the world’s oceans hold untold benefits; ocean’s technology opportunities go beyond the purely economic to include answers to questions on climate change, medical advance, healthy, nutritious food, and alternative energy sources.

The Bedford Institute of Oceanography highlights three new technologies that are currently in use: operational remote sensing, seahorse, and real-time Arctic Ocean observatory.

Halifax Marine Research Institute (HMRI) is building partnerships among groups to boost marine research and translate it into real economic opportunity; groups include federal research laboratories, universities, and the private sector.

 “The marketplace is moving toward integrated technology-based solutions, and Canadian firms will need partnerships with each other to increase their capacity to respond. Ocean science and technology networks and organizations, as well as National Research Council institutions, government labs, and consortia of private firms are emerging as focal points for information-sharing and innovation .

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