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The Scotian shelf: an atlas of human activities

Heather Breeze
Tracy Horsman

Tracy Horsman
Heather Breeze
Stanley K. Johnston

Layout and Design
Francis Kelly

Heather Breeze
Scott Coffen-Smout
Derek Fenton
Tim Hall
Glen Herbert
Tracy Horsman
Paul Macnab
David Millar
Peter Strain
Philip Yeats

All rights reserved. No part of this information (publication or product) may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system, without prior written permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0S5 or at

Cat. No.
0-662-69170-9 (PDF)
0-662-40952-3 (HTML)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Published by:
Oceans and Coastal Management Division
Oceans and Habitat Branch
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Maritimes Region
P.O. Box 1006
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4A2
fax: (902) 426-3855


© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2005

Table of Contents


Many people contributed to the development of the atlas by providing data, assisting with analyses, or reviewing the accompanying texts. The co-editors would like to thank Brian Altheim, Steve Bigelow, Christine Bonnell-Eisnor, and Eric Theriault from the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board; Pierre Chiasson, Tina Cleghorn, and Joel Richardson from the Government of New Brunswick; Andrew Kennedy, André Laflamme, Scott Lewis, Victor Li, and François Thériault from Environment Canada; Phil Moir from Natural Resources Canada; Erica deSousa from the Coastal Communities Network; Jason Cummings from ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc.); Michael Earle and Judy Barrington from the Canadian Coast Guard; Linda Murphy from the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture, and Heritage; Alasdair Wilkie from Hibernia Atlantic; Paul Kravis from IT Telecom; Ahmed El Sakkary from Teleglobe; Ross Lee, telecommunications consultant; Bernadette MacNeil from the Sydney Ports Corporation; and Richard Parsons from the Atlantic Canada Cruise Association.

We would like to thank the many staff of Fisheries and Oceans Canada who provided information, advice or reviewed texts, including Chris Annand, Maureen Butler, Shelley Bond, Charlene Coates, Art Cosgrove, Verna Docherty, Kevin DesRoches, Christie Dyer, Michael Eagles, Mark Fowler, Jon Hansen, Erica Head, Joseph Hunt, Peter Hurley, Jim Jamieson, Chris Jones, Andrew McMaster, Bill MacEachern, Lisa Paon, Ted Potter, Dale Roddick, Andrew Smith, Tobias Spears, Greg Stevens, Reg Sweeney, Clarissa Theriault, Tammy Waechter, Gary Weber and Tana Worcester. The co-editors would especially like to thank Claire MacDonald who co-ordinated review of the fisheries information by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Management Branch.


This atlas was prepared by the Eastern Scotian Shelf Integrated Management (ESSIM) Planning Office to show the extent of human activities on the Scotian Shelf and some of the management boundaries related to those activities. Managing multiple human activities is a major theme in the draft ESSIM Integrated Ocean Management Plan and a number of objectives set out in the plan relate to this theme. By providing information on the extent and intensity of a broad range of human activities on the shelf, it is hoped that managers, ocean users and others involved with the ESSIM initiative will have a better understanding of human activities in the offshore.

For several years, the ESSIM Planning Office has been collecting information on the location of human activities and management boundaries. However, this information was often portrayed in very different ways, covered different time periods and different geographic areas, or was in different data formats. With the atlas, our goal was to collect the most current information available from authoritative sources and present as complete a snapshot of human use on the Scotian Shelf as possible. We have not been completely successful, as complete geo-referenced data are not available for all activities. Nonetheless, we believe the picture of human activities shown here has helped us to develop a more complete view of the Scotian Shelf. In addition, the information collected and GIS layers developed to make the atlas will allow the Planning Office to develop decision-making tools for integrated management.

For most activities, the maps include information for the period 1999-2003. Choosing a consistent time period allows comparisons between activities and there is some information available for most activities for this period. However, for some activities complete information was not available or was not available in a format that we could use.

The text provided with each map includes important information which is intended to provide a better understanding of what is portrayed on the maps. Because several different people contributed to writing the descriptions there is more detail provided on some activities than others. In general, we chose to keep as much detail as was provided.

The Planning Office will continue to improve and expand the atlas as more data becomes available. Subsequent digital editions may be released in the future. If we have overlooked an important activity or are missing key management boundaries, please let us know so we can improve the atlas in the future.

Although we have made efforts to verify the information provided here, readers should be aware that the maps are intended to illustrate the location of activities and should not be used for navigational or legal purposes.

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