Environmental Stewardship

Shorefast creates and shares new ways to care for the health of coastal and oceanic ecosystems while supporting the culture of people whose lives and livelihoods are linked to the sea.  

Through multi-pronged initiatives, we seek to achieve the following:  

• Build awareness of Fogo Island’s waterways and the Labrador Current as critical to helping meet the climate challenge.   

• Engage with community members in environmental stewardship practices on Fogo Island and look for ways to adapt our learnings for other coastal and rural communities.

• Facilitate research that expands our knowledge of Fogo Island’s natural environment.

•Promote responsible development of our natural assets, including marine and other wildlife, geology, and land vegetation.

Today, Shorefast’s five major Environmental Stewardship initiatives are:

Habitat Stewardship and Conservation

Shorefast is involved in initiatives that promote habitat stewardship and conservation efforts. Some of these initiatives are funded via a partnership with Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ (DFO) Coastal Communities Conservation Opportunities Initiative (CCCOI). Shorefast also facilitates research inputs by leveraging our community relationships with fishers and other practitioners.

Examples Include:

    • Facilitating data collection regarding lobster stocks, capelin, and oceanographic information (temperature and sea level data). These inputs are returned to DFO to help build local data sets.
    • Organizing and executing shoreline clean-ups.
    • Installing seabins to reduce marine debris.
    • Youth projects including constructing and installing eider duck shelters with students on Change Islands, facilitating conservation-themed guest speakers at Fogo Island Central Academy, and World Ocean’s Day programming in collaboration with the Town of Fogo Island and other local organizations.

Sustainable Harvest: Seaweed Pilot Project

Alongside the Fogo Island Co-operative Society, Shorefast is leading research and development towards the establishment of Newfoundland and Labrador’s first commercial seaweed cultivation operation in the name of economic diversification and climate preparedness. We are partnered with Marine Institute (MI) at Memorial University of Newfoundland on this initiative, and Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI) is our funding partner.

Both Shorefast and the Fogo Island Co-operative Society believe deeply in the potential benefits of seaweed cultivation, which include significant carbon sequestering properties as well as habitat enhancement for existing species such as lobster. If seaweed cultivation proves successful in our waters, this crop could represent a significant economic diversification potential for Fogo Island and contribute to local and global food security.

Shorefast is seeking to lay groundwork for commercial seaweed cultivation such that local fishers can take on seaweed as an addition to their existing harvesting businesses, and the Co-op can add seaweed processing to their business model.

Sustainability Planning

In 2021, Shorefast began a concerted, organization-wide sustainability and waste audit process to work towards a deeper understanding of our organization’s environmental impact and to strengthen our internal culture of environmental stewardship.

We are partnered with Newfoundland-based climate action consulting firm Fundamental Inc. to establish our own internal Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission inventory and develop the Shorefast environmental policy and mission statement. We’re building internal capacity and identifying our cross-functional environmental leadership team and data reporting structures.

Starting with our own projects and businesses, we’re developing a model for similar organizations and communities to take a GHG inventory and set goals towards improving upon waste and carbon outputs. Our work can help create a roadmap for doing this complex, intensive work so as to be scaled and replicated by other organizations and communities around the globe. We plan to create and offer resources about this process in the not-too distant future.


Shorefast invites experts in various fields to come to Fogo Island to share their specialized knowledge with the community and lead public programming. Experts include geologists who lead educational hikes and host youth programming at our Geology Centre.

Community Science

Shorefast runs or participates in several Community Science initiatives which engage members of the general public in on-the-ground research.

These include: Summer youth programming that allows school-aged children to participate in workshops themed around marine debris and aquatic invasive species; training and research activities in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans; an Ocean Atlas project, which aims to build an online platform to share data about the natural environment around Fogo Island with community members; and more.