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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

Special Management Areas

Marine Biodiversity Protection

Special Management Areas: Marine Biodiversity Protection

Special Management Areas: Marine Biodiversity Protection

Legend: Special Management Areas - Marine Biodiversity Protection

Legend: Special Management Areas - Marine Biodiversity Protection

Several management areas have been established to protect important biodiversity features of the Scotian Shelf and Bay of Fundy. There are two Marine Protected Area (MPA) initiatives in the region. The Gully MPA (designated in 2004) protects 2364 square kilometres of a large and diverse canyon ecosystem in the offshore. Regulations for this MPA include general prohibitions that apply to most marine users. Musquash Estuary is a proposed MPA (also known as an Area of Interest) in the Bay of Fundy, covering 30 square kilometres of productive coastal waters.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard established two Whale Sanctuaries (sometimes referred to as Marine Mammal Conservation Areas) in the early 1990s: Grand Manan Basin and Roseway Basin. Geographical coordinates and guidelines for the areas are published in the Coast Guard’s Annual Notice to Mariners. Their purpose is to raise awareness of areas where the endangered North Atlantic right whale may be found in order to reduce potential interactions with these whales, such as ship strikes.

Deep-sea corals are protected in two areas established under Fisheries Act regulations. The 424-square- kilometre Northeast Channel Coral Conservation Area was established in 2002 to protect high densities of large octocorals. There are restrictions and limitations on bottom ing activities in the area. The 15-square-kilometre Lophelia Coral Conservation Area was established in 2004 to protect a rare cold water coral species. All bottom ing activities in the area are restricted.

Spawning and Nursery Areas

Special Management Areas: Spawning and Nursery Areas

Special Management Areas: Spawning and Nursery Areas

Legend: Special Management Areas - Spawning and Nursery Areas

Legend: Special Management Areas - Spawning and Nursery Areas

Several areas of the Scotian Shelf are closed seasonally or annually to protect concentrations of spawning or early life stages of . A few of the longer-standing closures are shown on this map and are also shown on the relevant ery maps. There are many other time and area closures in effect than are shown here.

There are three areas closed at certain times of the year to protect haddock. The spawning closure on Georges Bank runs from March 1 to May 31 and applies to all directed ground eries. Browns Bank is also closed to protect spawning haddock from February 1 until June 15 each year for all directed ground eries. There is a further closure to the use of small mesh gear (square mesh less than 130 millimetres) for red from January 1 until June 30 each year on Brown’s Bank. There are other areas where the use of mesh less than 130 millimetres is prohibited and this varies in area and season.

An area encompassing Western and Emerald banks has been closed year-round to ground ing using mobile gear since 1987 and to all ground gears since 1993. This closure was initially implemented as a nursery area for juvenile haddock.

There are two other closures in the Browns Bank area besides the haddock spawning closure. An area encompassing most of Browns Bank is closed year-round to the lobster and crab eries, with the intention of protecting lobster broodstock. An area known as the “Bowtie,” encompassing Roseway Basin and a small portion of Browns Bank, is closed to the small-meshed gear used in the red ery in order to prevent high catches of juvenile red.

Time and area closures in the herring ery can vary greatly; however a closure in the Trinity Ledge area, near the western coast of Nova Scotia, is generally put in place in September each year. This closure protects aggregations of spawning herring. The timing of the closure may change from year to year.

In addition to closures that protect commercial at particular life stages, Fisheries and Oceans Canada also establishes ing seasons and closures to separate eries and prevent gear conflicts, to conduct research, and to protect human health (as in the case of many coastal shell closures). Maps and descriptions of eries, found earlier in this atlas, provide further information on management measures related to particular eries.

Coastal Areas: Restricted Land Use and Protected Areas

Coastal Areas: Restricted Land Use and Protected Areas

Coastal Areas: Restricted Land Use and Protected Areas

Legend: Coastal Areas - Restricted Land Use and Protected Areas

Legend: Coastal Areas - Restricted Land Use and Protected Areas

Along the coasts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, a number of provincial and federal protected areas have been established to conserve ecosystems and protect wildlife. Within these areas, large-scale commercial and residential developments are generally prohibited, but varying levels of wilderness recreation, hunting, ing, and industrial activity such as forestry may be permitted.

This map shows coastal areas with restricted land uses in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Areas less than 3 square kilometres in size are shown as a point. In addition to the federal and provincial sites here, there are some coastal sites set up by private conservation organizations that are not shown.

Federal protected areas in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia include the migratory bird sanctuaries and national wildlife areas administered by the Canadian Wildlife Service, and the national parks administered by Parks Canada. These areas are established to protect vulnerable or threatened species, conserve nationally significant or representative natural areas, and/or meet Canada’s international conservation commitments (CWS 2004, Parks Canada 2004). In addition to the national parks, national historic sites on the coast are shown. Like the national parks, national historic sites administered by Parks Canada have restrictions on development and other activities.

In Nova Scotia, protected beaches, nature reserves, and wilderness areas have been established at the provincial level to conserve ecologically significant, sensitive, and/or representative areas. Additionally, wildlife management areas and game sanctuaries have been created to protect specific wild species. Provincial parks also exist, but are established for a mix of recreation and tourism purposes as well as for conservation. New Brunswick has a similar mix of provincial protected areas, with Class I (very highly protected) and Class II (highly protected) protected natural areas, as well as provincial parks much like those in Nova Scotia (NBNR 2004).

Sable Island is a special case as a protected terrestrial area in the offshore. It is a federal migratory bird sanctuary. It is also protected by a special set of regulations established under the Canada Shipping Act that restrict access to the island.

CWS (Canadian Wildlife Service). 2004. Habitat Conservation. (7 December 2004).

NBNR (New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources). 2004. New Brunswick Protected Areas. (7 December 2004).

Parks Canada. 2004. National Parks of Canada. (7 December 2004)

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