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Integrated Management Planning

Placentia Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador

Plants and Animals

Rockweeds and knotted wrack dominate the rocky intertidal zones of Placentia Bay. Cobble and small boulder habitats may support Corallina algae and/or sour weed.Footnote 17 The abundance and diversity of plant life relate to the sediment type and exposure, and are also indicators of sediment and water quality. In sheltered subtidal areas, filamentous brown, green and red algae, fucoids (such as rockweed) and kelps are present. In deeper waters, there is typically a sporadic occurrence of kelp and short filamentous brown algae.Footnote 4

The productive Labrador Current and the Gulf Stream both influence oceanographic conditions within Placentia Bay and provide rich feeding grounds for marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, porpoises, and seals, as well as numerous finfish and shellfish species. The coastal waters also offer cliffs and islands suitable for the nesting of seabirds, waterfowl and raptors. Some of these marine mammals and animals are full time residents of the bay, while others migrate annually or are occasional visitors. Exceptional visitors to the bay include the endangered harlequin duck and the endangered leatherback sea turtle, the largest known reptile in existence today.

Placentia Bay is home to approximately 26 species of seabirds, 13 species of waterfowl, 10 species of shorebirds and seven significant species of raptors. All of these are known to inhabit the bay either seasonally or on a permanent basis, with approximately 28 species being late spring/summer/early fall visitors and at least 15 species breeding there.

The area is home to at least 14 groundfish species including Atlantic cod, lumpfish and winter flounder; nine species of pelagic fish including mackerel, herring and capelin; seven species of shellfish including snow crab, lobster and scallop.Footnote 5 There are approximately 14 marine mammals and one significant reptile that seasonally or permanently inhabit Placentia Bay. The marine mammals and reptile consist of 10 whale species, three seal species, the river otter and the leatherback sea turtle.Footnote 16 The tables presented list some of the marine birds, fish, mammals and reptile species present throughout the bay.


Common Murre

Harbour Porpoise

Harlequin Duck

Marine Finfish and Shellfish Present in Placentia Bay


  • Cunner
  • Radiated Shanny
  • Flounder
  • Arctic Shanny
  • Arctic Eelpout
  • Lumpfish
  • Ocean Pout
  • Wrymouth
  • Sculpin
  • Winter Flounder
  • Skate
  • Tomcod
  • Atlantic Cod


  • Sand Lance
  • Smelt
  • American Eel
  • Brown Trout
  • Atlantic Salmon
  • Herring
  • Capelin
  • Mackerel
  • Stickleback


  • Sea Snail
  • Lobster
  • Mussel
  • Scallop
  • Snow Crab

Marine Mammals and Reptiles Present in Placentia Bay

Baleen Whales

  • Humpback Whale
  • Blue Whale
  • Sei Whale
  • Fin Whale
  • Minke Whale

Toothed Whales

  • Long-finned Pilot Whale
  • Atlantic White-sided Dolphin
  • White-beaked Dolphin
  • Common Dolphin
  • Harbour Porpoise


  • Harbour Seal
  • Grey Seal
  • Harp Seal


  • River Otter
  • Leatherback Sea Turtle
Marine Related Birds Present in Placentia Bay - Seabirds
Species Visitation Period
Great Cormorant Summer feeding
Double-crested Cormorant Summer feeding
Black Guillemot Summer breeding, winter
Razorbill Summer breeding/feeding
Common Murre Summer feeding
Thick-billed Murre Winter/spring feeding
Atlantic Puffin Summer feeding
Northern Gannet Summer/fall feeding
Northern Fulmar Summer/fall feeding
Greater Shearwater Spring/summer feeding
Sooty Shearwater Spring/summer feeding
Manx Shearwater Occasional feeding
Herring Gull Year round breeding
Greater Black-backed Gull Year round breeding
Ring-billed Gull Year round breeding
Glaucous and Iceland Gulls Winter
Dovekie Winter
Great and South Polar Skuas Rare summer
Parasitic and Pomarine Jaegers Rare summer
Black-legged Kittiwake Summer breeding, uncommon in winter
Leach's Storm-Petrel Summer breeding, small numbers
Common Tern Year round breeding
Arctic Tern Year round breeding
Marine Related Birds Present in Placentia Bay - Raptors
Species Visitation Period
Bald Eagle Year round breeding
Osprey Year round breeding
Marine Related Birds Present in Placentia Bay - Waterfowl
Species Visitation Period
Common Loon Summer (freshwater), winter (coastal)
Red-necked Grebe Winter
Canada Goose Spring/summer/fall breeding
Black Duck Summer (freshwater), winter (intertidal)
Green-winged Teal Summer/fall
Common Eider Fall/winter/spring
King Eider Fall/winter
White-winged, Surf and Black Scoters Fall migrants, winter
Oldsquaw Fall/winter/spring
Common Goldeneye Summer
Common Merganser Summer
Red-breasted Merganser Year round breeding
Greater Scaup Fall
Marine Related Birds Present in Placentia Bay - Shorebirds
Species Visitation Period
Greater Yellowlegs Spring/summer breeding
Spotted Sandpiper Spring/summer breeding
Purple Sandpiper Winter
Least Sandpiper Late summer/fall breeding (intertidal)
Wilson's, Northern and Red Phalaropes Occasional spring/summer
Whimbrel Late summer
Semipalmated Plover Late summer/fall (intertidal)
Semipalmated Sandpiper Late summer/fall (intertidal)
Ruddy Turnstone Late summer/fall (intertidal)
Sanderling Late summer/fall (intertidal)
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