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Emerald Basin and Sambro Bank Sponge Conservation Areas

Scotian Shelf Bioregion (Nova Scotia)
Approximate Size (km2) contribution to Marine Conservation Targets
260 km2
Approximate % coverage contribution to Marine Conservation Targets
Conservation Objective
Protect Vazella pourtalesi glass sponges

Ecological Components of Interest

Species of regional importance: Vazella pourtalesi glass sponges

Habitat that is important to biodiversity conservation: Vazella pourtalesi glass sponges


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

All commercial bottom-contact fishing gear.

Other Considerations

No human activities that are incompatible with the conservation of the ecological components of interest may occur or be foreseeable within the area.

Environmental Context

These closures include portions of sponge areas identified as significant under the Policy for Managing the Impact of Fishing on Sensitive Benthic Areas.

Sponge-dominated communities modify bottom currents and create habitat. Glass sponge aggregations provide a link between benthic (bottom layer) and pelagic (upper layer) environments, play an important role in carbon and nitrogen processing, and act as a silica sink.

Sponge aggregations offer important structural habitat, providing refuge and nursery areas for a variety of marine species.

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

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