List of marine refuges

Fisheries management measures in Canadian waters that qualify as other effective area-based conservation measures are listed below. These measures help protect important species and their habitats, including unique and significant aggregations of corals and sponges. These measures are intended to be in place for the long-term, so they will make a lasting contribution to marine conservation. As of April 25, 2019, these measures represent approximately 283,365 km2 and 4.93% of protected marine territory in Canada. Marine refuges contribute to Canada’s marine conservation targets.

In consultation with affected parties, DFO is exploring additional opportunities to identify or establish new measures that have biodiversity conservation benefits, so that their contributions to the marine conservation targets can be recognized.

List of marine refuges

Name Description Province Bioregion Establishment Mechanism
Strait of Georgia and Howe Sound Glass Sponge Reef (17 fisheries area closures) Conservation objective: 17 area closures to protect glass sponge reefs.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all bottom-contacting commercial, recreational, and Indigenous food, social and ceremonial fishing activities.
British Columbia B.C. BC Strait of Georgia Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Scallop Buffer Zones (SFA 21, 22, 24) Conservation objective: to protect juvenile lobster habitat.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits scallop dragging.
New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia N.B. NB P.E.I. PEI N.S. NS Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Variation Order
Division 3O Coral Closure Conservation objective: to protect coral and sponges.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all bottom fishing activities.
Newfoundland and Labrador NFLD N.L. NL Newfoundland-Labrador Shelves Licence Condition
Bay of Islands Salmon Migration Conservation objective: to protect Atlantic salmon migratory area.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all pelagic fixed gear fisheries.
Newfoundland and Labrador NFLD N.L. NL Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Licence Condition
Lobster Area closures (Trout River, Shoal Point, Penguin Islands, Gooseberry Island, Glovers Harbour, Mouse Island and Gander Bay) Conservation objective: to increase lobster spawning and egg production.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all lobster fishing.
Newfoundland and Labrador NFLD N.L. NL Newfoundland-Labrador Shelves; Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Jordan Basin Conservation Area Conservation objective: to protect cold water corals.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all commercial bottom-contact fishing gear.
Nova Scotia N.S. NS Scotian Shelf Condition of Licence
Corsair and Georges Canyons Conservation Area (restricted bottom fisheries zone) Conservation objective: to protect cold water corals.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all commercial bottom-contact fishing gear.
Nova Scotia N.S. NS Scotian Shelf Condition of Licence
Northeast Channel Coral Conservation Area (restricted bottom fisheries zone) Conservation objective: to protect cold water corals.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all commercial bottom-contact fishing gear.
Nova Scotia N.S. NS Scotian Shelf Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Emerald Basin and Sambro Bank Sponge Conservation Areas Conservation objective: to protect globally unique concentration of Vazella pourtalesi, a structure-forming species of glass sponge.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all commercial bottom-contact fishing gear.
Nova Scotia N.S. NS Scotian Shelf Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Lophelia Coral Conservation Area Conservation objective: to protect the only known living Lophelia pertusa coral reef in Canada’s Atlantic waters.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all commercial bottom-contact fishing gear.
Nova Scotia N.S. NS Scotian Shelf Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Magdalen Islands lagoons (6 overlapping fisheries area closures) Conservation objective: to protect lobster habitat and conserve herring spawning areas.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits hydraulic dredging fishing for the Atlantic razor clam and the Atlantic surf clam, gill net and square net fishing for winter flounder, gill net fishing for Atlantic herring, pelagic trawling, Danish and Scottish seine fishing for the yellowtail flounder and winter flounder, and American lobster trap fishing.
Quebec QC Q.C. Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Condition of Licence / Variation Order
Les Demoiselles nursery (Plaisance Bay), Magdalen Islands Closure Conservation objective: to protect habitat used as a nursery ground for juvenile lobster.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits hydraulic dredging for Atlantic surf clam and Atlantic razor clam, otter trawling, and Danish and Scottish seine fishing for the winter flounder, witch flounder, yellowtail flounder, and American plaice.
Quebec QC Q.C. Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Condition of Licence
Saguenay Fjord Upstream Closure Conservation objective: to protect habitat for the beluga whale, a mammal designated as endangered and listed as threatened in the Species at Risk Act, and to avoid stirring up contaminants contained in the river’s sediments.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits otter trawl fishing for all species.
Quebec QC Q.C. Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Regulation and Condition of Licence
Western/Emerald Banks Conservation Area (restricted fisheries zone) Conservation objective: Support productivity objectives for groundfish species of Aboriginal, commercial, and/or recreational importance, particularly NAFO Division 4VW haddock; Manage the disturbance of benthic habitat that supports juvenile and adult haddock and other groundfish species.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all commercial and recreational fisheries using bottom-contact gear and/or gear known to interact with groundfish.
Nova Scotia NS N.S. Scotian Shelf Condition of Licence
Miramichi Bay Closure Conservation objective: Protect adult Atlantic salmon and an important migration corridor.
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits the use of gillnets for all commercial groundfish fisheries.
New Brunswick NB N.B. Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Variation Order
Eastern Honguedo Strait Coral and Sponge Conservation Area Conservation objective: Cold-water coral and sponge protection
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all fishing that uses bottom-contact gear, such as bottom trawls, dredges, bottom seining, traps, gillnets, and bottom longlines.
Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador QC Q.C. NB N.B. NS N.S. PEI P.E.I. NFLD NL Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Parent Bank Sponge Conservation Area Conservation objective: Cold-water sponge protection
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all fishing that uses bottom-contact gear, such as bottom trawls, dredges, bottom seining, traps, gillnets, and bottom longlines.
Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador QC Q.C. NB N.B. NS N.S. PEI P.E.I. NFLD NL Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Jacques-Cartier Strait Sponge Conservation Area Conservation objective: Cold-water sponge protection
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all fishing that uses bottom-contact gear, such as bottom trawls, dredges, bottom seining, traps, gillnets, and bottom longlines.
Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador QC Q.C. NB N.B. NS N.S. PEI P.E.I. NFLD NL Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Beaugé Bank Sponge Conservation Area Conservation objective: Cold-water sponge protection
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all fishing that uses bottom-contact gear, such as bottom trawls, dredges, bottom seining, traps, gillnets, and bottom longlines.
Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador QC Q.C. NB N.B. NS N.S. PEI P.E.I. NFLD NL Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Western Honguedo Strait Coral Conservation Area Conservation objective: Cold-water coral protection
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all fishing that uses bottom-contact gear, such as bottom trawls, dredges, bottom seining, traps, gillnets, and bottom longlines.
Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador QC Q.C. NB N.B. NS N.S. PEI P.E.I. NFLD NL Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Slope of Magdalen Shallows Coral Conservation Area Conservation objective: Cold-water coral protection
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all fishing that uses bottom-contact gear, such as bottom trawls, dredges, bottom seining, traps, gillnets, and bottom longlines.
Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador QC Q.C. NB N.B. NS N.S. PEI P.E.I. NFLD NL Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Eastern Gulf of St. Lawrence Coral Conservation Area Conservation objective: Cold-water coral protection
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all fishing that uses bottom-contact gear, such as bottom trawls, dredges, bottom seining, traps, gillnets, and bottom longlines.
Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador QC Q.C. NB N.B. NS N.S. PEI P.E.I. NFLD NL Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
East of Anticosti Island Sponge Conservation Area Conservation objective: Cold-water sponge protection
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all fishing that uses bottom-contact gear, such as bottom trawls, dredges, bottom seining, traps, gillnets, and bottom longlines.
Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador QC Q.C. NB N.B. NS N.S. PEI P.E.I. NFLD NL Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Central Gulf of St. Lawrence Coral Conservation Area Conservation objective: Cold-water coral protection
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all fishing that uses bottom-contact gear, such as bottom trawls, dredges, bottom seining, traps, gillnets, and bottom longlines.
Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador QC Q.C. NB N.B. NS N.S. PEI P.E.I. NFLD NL Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
South-East of Anticosti Island Sponge Conservation Area Conservation objective: Cold-water sponge protection
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all fishing that uses bottom-contact gear, such as bottom trawls, dredges, bottom seining, traps, gillnets, and bottom longlines.
Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador QC Q.C. NB N.B. NS N.S. PEI P.E.I. NFLD NL Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
North of Bennett Bank Coral Conservation Area Conservation objective: Cold-water coral protection
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all fishing that uses bottom-contact gear, such as bottom trawls, dredges, bottom seining, traps, gillnets, and bottom longlines.
Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador QC Q.C. NB N.B. NS N.S. PEI P.E.I. NFLD NL Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Offshore Pacific Seamounts and Vents Closure Conservation objective: Protect seamounts, hydrothermal vents and the ecosystems they support
Prohibited Activities: Prohibits all bottom-contact commercial and recreational fishing activities.
British ColumbiaBC B.C. Offshore Pacific Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Hawke Channel Closure Conservation objective: Conserve benthic habitat and Atlantic cod
Prohibited Activities: Bottom trawl, gillnet, and longline.
Newfoundland and LabradorNFLD NL N.F.L.D. N.L. Newfoundland-Labrador Shelves Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Funk Island Deep Closure Conservation objective: Conserve benthic habitat and Atlantic cod
Prohibited Activities: Bottom trawl, gillnet, and longline.
Newfoundland and LabradorNFLD NL N.F.L.D. N.L. Newfoundland-Labrador Shelves Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Hopedale Saddle Closure Conservation objective: Protect corals and sponges and contribute to the long-term conservation of biodiversity.
Prohibited Activities: All bottom-contact fishing activities.
Newfoundland and LabradorNFLD NL N.F.L.D. N.L. Newfoundland-Labrador Shelves Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Hatton Basin Conservation Area Conservation objective: To conserve sensitive benthic areas.
Prohibited Activities: All bottom-contact fishing activities.
Nunavut and Newfoundland and LabradorNL N.L. NFLD NU N.U. Eastern Arctic and Newfoundland-Labrador Shelves Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Northeast Newfoundland Slope Closure Conservation objective: Protect corals and sponges and contribute to the long term conservation of biodiversity.
Prohibited Activities: All bottom contact fishing activities.
Newfoundland and LabradorNL N.L. NFLD Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Davis Strait Conservation Area Conservation objective: To conserve sensitive benthic areas.
Prohibited Activities: All bottom-contact fishing activities.
NunavutNU N.U. Eastern Arctic Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
Disko Fan Conservation Area (portion closed to all bottom-contact fishing) Conservation objective: Minimize impacts on winter food source and overwintering habitat for narwhal; Conserve coral concentrations.
Prohibited Activities: All bottom-contact fishing activities.
NunavutNU N.U. Eastern Arctic Variation Order and/or Condition of Licence
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