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Eastern Canyons Conservation Area

Eastern Canyons Conservation Area

Eastern Canyons Conservation Area

Scotian Shelf-Bay of Fundy Bioregion, previously Scotian Shelf Bioregion (Nova Scotia)
Approximate Size (km2) contribution to Marine Conservation Targets
43,976 km2
Approximate % coverage contribution to Marine Conservation Targets
Conservation Objective
Protect cold-water corals and deep water frontier area

Ecological components of interest

Species of regional importance: Cold-water corals and Lophelia pertusa coral reef.

Habitat that is important to biodiversity conservation: Cold-water corals and Lophelia pertusa coral reef


The ecological components of interest are effectively conserved through the following prohibitions:

All communal commercial and commercial bottom-contact fishing gear is prohibited in the marine refuge, with the exception of bottom longline gear that is permitted within a small zone provided the fishing vessels have At-sea observers onboard.

Other considerations

The protection standard for other effective area-based conservation measures, including marine refuges, assess all activities on a case-by-case basis. Some activities could be allowed if the risks they pose to the OECM providing biodiversity conservation benefits are avoided or mitigated. Before any proposed activity can take place, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard would need to be satisfied that any risks to the area have been avoided or mitigated effectively.

Environmental context

Cold-water corals play an important functional role for numerous forms of marine life. They act as spawning and breeding grounds, nurseries, and refuges for many aquatic species.

The dense aggregations created by large, structure-forming cold-water corals can alter bottom currents and provide niche space for other organisms.

Prohibiting bottom-contact gear can protect not only the corals but a diversity of other species of fish and invertebrates that utilize the complex structural habitat the corals provide. This area can act as a natural refuge area that may contribute to increased species productivity, which in turn, could potentially lead to increased abundance within and adjacent to the area.

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