History of Bonne Bay Aquarium & Research Station
Serious modern biological research in Bonne Bay began in the 1970s with the realization of Dr. Bob Hooper that the East Arm of Bonne Bay was home to a relict arctic marine ecosystem that could provide the basis for a world-class teaching and research facility.
Biology teaching began in 1979 when the first Memorial University class was brought to Norris Point to experience a field school in marine biology, hosted in a small outport house on the waterfront. Dr. Hooper had helped convert the house into a small marine teaching and research facility that was often visited by curious locals and visitors eager to see what the biology students had housed in their marine aquaria.
By 2001, the Biology Department of Memorial University was running up to seven field schools through the summer, and the original house was becoming too small to cope with the student demand. The vision for a small research aquarium and student accommodations was driven by Dr. Hooper, who oversaw construction of a new facility on the site of the old station at a cost of around $3.2 million. Financial support was provided by Memorial University of Newfoundland; the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency; the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador; Gros Morne Cooperating Association and the Town of Norris Point.
Since that time, the Public Aquarium and Marine Station have become a central part of the Norris Point waterfront, providing a venue for teaching the public and university students about the fascinating biology of Bonne Bay and the Gros Morne region.