Beach restoration underway at Ship Cove on Placentia Bay | WWF-Canada

Beach restoration underway at Ship Cove on Placentia Bay

Posted on 13 October 2017
Beach restoration at Ship Cove
Beach restoration at Ship Cove
© Catharine Tunnacliffe
ST JOHN'S, October 13, 2017 — Work is underway by World Wildlife Fund Canada to restore a capelin spawning beach at Ship Cove, Placentia Bay, NL. Funding for the project comes from the Coastal Restoration Fund, part of the $3.7 million grant by Fisheries and Oceans Canada that was recently announced. The Ship Cove beach restoration is the first of many WWF-Canada projects to improve coastal habitats and reverse the decline of wildlife in Newfoundland and Labrador.  

Still photos and web-res video of the beach restoration are available to media here; a broadcast-quality file (10 GB) is available upon request from 

Ship Cove beach 
  • The beach had prime conditions for capelin spawning, including a freshwater source and the favourable type of gravel close to the shoreline.  
  • A decade ago, part of the beach was used as a quarry, and as a result the beach subsided and washed the spawning gravel to the rear of the beach, where it is no longer accessible to capelin for spawning.  
  • Capelin still come to spawn in the summer, but only in a small corner of the beach. WWF-Canada is optimistic that by restoring the beach, capelin will return in greater numbers to spawn successfully as early as next season. 
  • Capelin are a vital food source for seabirds and whales, as well as Atlantic cod. 
The Coastal Restoration Fund 
WWF-Canada’s project, which is receiving $3.7 million of funding over five years, is called Stewarding Coastal Habitats Monitoring and Restoration for Priority Species in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Planned projects include:  
  • Capelin habitat restoration in Placentia Bay and other priority areas 
  • Removal of obstacles in the path of migrating Atlantic salmon and Arctic char in Labrador 
  • Studies of capelin larvae on the beach and in the water on two beaches in Newfoundland and Labrador 
  • Addressing erosion of coastal habitats in Newfoundland and Labrador and research to see how coastal areas are being impacted by climate change 
  • Development of local capacity for community-based monitoring of wildlife and habitat restoration.  
The projects will draw on scientific and traditional knowledge to guide the strategic restoration of coastal habitats. 

Partners for the project include: NunatuKavut Community Council, the Marine Institute, the University of Manitoba, Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Association, Inc., the Shorefast Foundation, ACAP Humber Arm, Northeast Avalon ACAP 

David Miller, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada, said:  
“The beach restoration at Ship Cove is a first step towards improving habitat for wildlife on the coastline of Newfoundland and Labrador. We are really pleased to be restoring the beach to its former condition, so capelin will be able to spawn here as they used to. We are grateful to the Coastal Restoration Fund for the support and the opportunity to start multi-year projects with our partners that will ensure the long-term sustainability of coastal habitat in Newfoundland and Labrador.” 

About World Wildlife Fund Canada 
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit 

For further information 
Catharine Tunnacliffe, communications specialist,, +1 647-624-5279
Beach restoration at Ship Cove
Beach restoration at Ship Cove
© Catharine Tunnacliffe Enlarge