Pacific Biological Station

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Nanaimo, British Columbia
What the facility does

Fisheries, aquaculture, marine mammal, and marine ecosystem research

Areas of expertise

The Pacific Biological Station has earned an international reputation for fisheries, aquaculture, marine mammal, and marine ecosystem research. Work conducted at this site has helped shape modern fisheries science and has contributed to the health and protection of aquatic resources on the west coast of Canada – one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems.

Staff at the Pacific Biological Station provide science advice on Stock Assessment, Aquaculture, Aquatic Invasive Species, Species at Risk; Marine Mammals, Marine Conservation Areas, Aquatic Animal Health, and Population Genetics. 

The facility includes experimental wet laboratory space and services that allow for experiments to be responsibly conducted on live fish, algae, and shellfish; veterinary and aquarium services to support research and ensure animal care; a phytoplankton production laboratory; a climate change and ocean acidification experimental laboratory; high-throughput laboratories supporting advanced genetics, genomics, and animal health research; ISO 17025 accredited diagnostic laboratories with various histology and molecular techniques; a marine mammal laboratory; and wet and dry sampling laboratories.

Research services

Advanced stock assessment modelling, advanced molecular genetics and genomics, aquatic animal health diagnostics and research, marine mammal research, stock identification and genetic tagging, shellfish aquaculture research, ocean warming and ocean acidification research

Sectors of application
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Ocean industries

Specialized lab



Molecular Genetics Lab

Molecular Genetics Lab

Molecular techniques and research for stock ID, advice for breeding programs, high resolution organism detection

Aquatic Animal Health Lab

Temp and salinity controlled fish / shellfish research tanks

Molecular genomics, parasitology virology analysis equipment

Temperature controlled fresh and saltwater research tanks and analysis instrumentation equipped for aquatic animal health research

Histology Lab

Electron microscope

Dedicated histology lab


Marine Mammal Lab

30ft Aluminum Boat (Roller Bay)

Marine mammal surveys, collecting samples, tagging whales and other close-approach work with cetaceans and pinnipeds

Climate Change / Ocean Acidification Lab

Research tanks (4)

Four research tanks with automated control of seawater temperatures and CO2 levels for testing impacts on marine finfish/shellfish

•       BC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences
•       BC Salmon Farmers Association
•       BC Shellfish Growers Association
•       Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance
•       Cermaq Canada
•       Coastal Ocean Research Initiative
•       Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.
•       Groundfish Research and Conservation Society
•       Mowi (formerly Marine Harvest Canada)
•       National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (United States)
•       Okanagan Nation Alliance
•       Ocean Networks Canada
•       Pacific Halibut Management Association
•       Simon Fraser University
•       University of British Columbia
•       University of Victoria
•       Vancouver Island University