Dr. Bob Hooper first visited the Bonne Bay area some 30 years ago, and was immediately taken with its breathtaking beauty, amazing marine biodiversity, and potential as a prime location for teaching and research. At that time Memorial University had inherited a small field station in the picturesque community of Norris Point. As the "de facto" manager of the station, Dr. Hooper helped convert this outport house with a fishing store into a well-respected small marine teaching and research facility.
Summer teaching activities began in 1979 with a single two week program. By 2001 seven, two week academic programs were running from mid April to September. The student demand for courses, and high level of research interest, often exceeded the available space. In addition, local visitors and summer tourists were frequently "dropping in" to view the curious critters in our small aquarium, and learn about our latest research ventures. It became clear that the existing station that had served us well over the years could no longer accommodate our needs. The idea of a new teaching and research facility was developed, proposals were written and presentations were made.
On September 6th, 2002 the hard work and dreams were realized with the official opening of the new Bonne Bay Marine Station. Built on the site of the of old station this $3.2 million facility was funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency; the Gros Morne Co-operating Association; the Department of Industry, Trade and Rural Development, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador; and Memorial University.
The Bonne Bay Marine Station will help create a greater understanding of the unique marine ecosystem of Newfoundland, and will provide tremendous opportunities for students and researchers. In addition the facility will provide enriched learning experiences for tourists and local visitors.
To provide an infrastructure and environment that is supportive of first-class teaching and research in marine science.
To support significant activities in public education and regional economic development via its interpretive components, the gift shop, and other such programs as might be offered in its facilities.
The station is jointly operated by Memorial University and the Gros Morne Co-operating Association.