IBEC was launched as a community based initiative in 1988 to conserve and enhance the Indian Bay Watershed Ecosystem for future generations through sustainable development and management.
IBEC began to work with federal and provincial officials to set fishing
policies for the area and to negotiate restrictions respecting commercial
operations in the watershed that impacts fisheries habitat and the broader
ecosystem. At this time IBEC demonstrated considerable leadership in working with DFO to advance methodologies in stock measurement, stock enhancement and habitat improvement. Management practices were effective in rebuilding stocks through established quotas, select pond closures and trained river monitors. IBEC also negotiated buffer zones against forestry and other developments and undertook a significant cleanup of the area.
IBEC established effective partnerships across many provincial and federal government departments. The organization developed a network of researchers across Memorial University and universities in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario to develop a body of knowledge respecting population management of brook trout and salmon stock that broke new ground in methods for watershed and ecosystem management. Overall, IBEC was effective in building collaborations and were routinely consulted on resource developments impacting the Indian Bay Watershed.
The early years for IBEC were seen as being very successful and all of its early objectives of habitat restoration and advancing local environmental public awareness were accomplished. Community support for their activities was very strong. Throughout these efforts there was considerable support from both the federal and provincial levels of government.
In 2003 IBEC started to advance a vision to establish The Centre for Terrestrial and Aquatic Field Studies (CTAFS) which was intended to serve as an educational facility. This facility would offer accredited university and college level field courses, professional training/research and consultancy services in the ecology and management of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Owned and operated by IBEC, it was intended that CTAFS would become a recognised terrestrial and aquatic educational and research facility for Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) with MUN aiding in the development and implementation of educational programs, research opportunities and consultancy services.
In 2011 IBEC entered into a new agreement with the provincial Department of Advanced Education and Skills for the implementation of a pilot project entitled Indian Bay Centre for Co-operative Eco-System Studies. This agreement provided sustained operational funding of $250,000 and was designed to re-energize IBEC in initiating a new project. It also enabled IBEC to retain an Executive Director. Funding was also secured from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to undertake a business plan that would be based on new strategies enabling IBEC to be self-financing.