The Pathway Program: Defining approved environmental monitoring for ocean energy projects

Sardine School

The Pathway Program is a technology development and testing program focused on identifying approved environmental monitoring solutions for ocean energy projects.  It is a coordinated and focused partnership between industry, academia and regulators.  Monitoring and reporting fish and marine mammal interactions with ocean-based devices is essential and approved monitoring solutions are critical to advancing the tidal energy industry. 


Canadian-made solutions

Canada's existing strengths in ocean instrumentation, data analytics and science support innovation.  As a result of this program, Canadian suppliers will have new technology to sell globally to the tidal energy, offshore wind, and other sectors of the ocean economy.


Experience-driven success

Prior investments in research and marine monitoring in the Bay of Fundy means this program benefits from existing expertise and hands-on experience.  Project developers and regulators are actively engaged in the program, which will help to:

  • reduce time to regulatory approval for end-users
  • lower financial risk to achieve regulatory approval for end-users
  • lessen the cost of technology development for Canadian SME’s
  • reduce operating expenditures via data automation
  • test for reliability
  • attain regulatory confidence

Expert Advice 

The Pathway Program benefits from the knowledge of Subject Matter Experts in several relevant areas of study.  Experts engaged to date include: 

Subject Matter Expert – Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM)
Lead Investigator, Dr. David Barclay
Passive Acoustic Monitoring Report 
Passive Acoustic Monitoring Presentation

Subject Matter Expert - Imaging Sonar
Lead Investigator, Dr. James Joslin
Imaging Sonar Report
Imaging Sonar Presentation 

Subject Matter Expert - Echosounder
Lead Investigator, Dr. John Horne
Ehosounder Report
Echosounder Presentation 

Subject Matter Expert - Echosounders
North Highland College
Lead Investigator, Dr. Benjamin Williamson

Strategic and technical advice within The Pathway Program
Lead Investigator, Dr. Louise McGarry


Informative Workshops

Workshops in key areas of focus related to marine environmental monitoring are bringing together academics, industry representatives and others.  Learning and information-sharing resulting from these events are informing Pathway Program direction and decision-making.  Workshops held to date include: 

Workshop #1 – Cabling and Platform
Marine Renewables Canada
Lead Investigator, Elisa Obermann
Workshop Summary Report 

Workshop #2 – Data Automation
Marine Renewables Canada
Lead Investigator, Elisa Obermann
Workshop Summary Report 

Workshop #3 - Pathway International Workshop / Webinar
The European Marine Energy Centre Ltd (EMEC)
Lead Investigator, Rob Flynn
Workshop Summary Report


Research Projects

Focused research projects are contributing to Pathway Program data and outcomes.  Learn more here:

Data Automation: Passive Acoustic Monitoring Devices
Improved Analysis of Harbour Porpoise Sounds
Oregon State University
Lead Investigator, Dr. David Mellinger

Data Automation: Echosounders
Automated post-processing, using machine learning algorithms
Automated analytical tools (that generate estimates of fish frequency, abundance, and distribution)
DeepSense & Louise McGarry
Lead Investigators, Dr. Scot Lowe & Dr. Louise McGarry

Technology Validation: Passive Acoustic Monitoring Device
Data Analysis Component of Comparative Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) technology assessment
Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE)
Lead Investigator, Dr. Dan Hasselman

Technology Validation: Echosouders & Passive Acoustic Monitoring Device
Environmental Monitoring System Development
Sustainable Marine Energy (Canada) Ltd. (SMEC)
Lead Investigator, Jason Clarkson

Technology Validation: Multibeam (Imaging) Sonars
Field Assessment of Multi-beam Imaging Sonar Performance in Surface & Bottom Mount Deployments
SOAR - Sustainable Oceans Applied Research Ltd
Lead Investigator, Greg Trowse
FINAL REPORT - Surface Mount
FINAL REPORT - Bottom Mount

Cable & Platform Development / Sensor Integration
Participation in the Pathway Program through Development of the Platform and Cabling Solution
Halagonia Tidal Energy Limited (DP Energy)
Lead Investigator, Sarah Thomas


Learn more

If you're interested in finding out more about Pathway Program initiatives, get in touch with us at 

April 2019 – October 2021