The Scotian shelf: an atlas of human activities
Stanley K. Johnston
Layout and Design
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- Cat. No.
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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
- Reference Maps
- Jurisdictional and Political Boundaries
- Fisheries Management Areas
- Groundfish Landings (1999-2003)
- Groundfish Landings by Gear Type (1999-2003)
- Seasonal Groundfish Landings (1999-2003)
- Cod, Haddock and Pollock Landings (1999-2003)
- Flatfish Landings (1999-2003)
- Halibut Landings (1999-2003)
- Redfish Landings (1999-2003)
- Silver Hake Landings (1999-2003)
- Herring Landings (1999-2003)
- Mackerel Landings (1999-2003)
- Bluefin Tuna Landings (1999-2003)
- Landings of Large Pelagic Species (1999-2003)
- Swordfish Landings (1999-2003)
- Albacore, Bigeye and Yellowfin Tuna Landings (1999-2003)
- Porbeagle, Mako and Blue Shark Landings (1999-2003)
- Crab Landings (All Species) (1999-2003)
- Snow Crab Landings (1999-2003)
- Crab Landings (Except Snow Crab) (1999-2003)
- Scallop Landings (1999-2003)
- Scallop Landings by Season (1999-2003)
- Offshore Clam Landings (1999-2003)
- Shrimp Landings (1999-2003)
- Offshore Lobster Landings (1999-2003)
- Special Management Areas
- Marine Traffic
- Oil And Gas Industry
- Other Activities
- Ocean Disposal And Marine Environmental Quality
Several active submarine telecommunications cables make landfall in Nova Scotia. Two Atlantic Provinces Optical Cable System (APOCS) cables run from Aspy Bay and Sydney Mines, Cape Breton to Newfoundland (APOCS 1C and APOCS 2). APOCS 1A crosses the Bay of Fundy (Margaretsville, NS to Rogers Head, NB), while APOCS 1B connects Nova Scotia and PEI. Two Teleglobe cables land at Pennant Point: CANUS 1 runs to Manasquan, New Jersey and CANTAT-3 to Iceland. The Hibernia Atlantic cable system links Nova Scotia to the USA, Ireland and the UK via three active cable segments (Segment E, Ketch Harbour to Lynn, Massachusetts; Segment D, Ketch Harbour to Dublin, Ireland; and Segment A, Hospital Point (Herring Cove) to Southport, UK). International cables, both commercial and scientific, cross Canada’s Atlantic continental slope linking the US northeast directly with Europe. No high voltage DC power cables cross the Scotian Shelf, although proposals for DC power cables have recently been considered.
There are numerous inactive cables on the Scotian Shelf and Slope, some of which are more than 100 years old. CANTAT-2 was originally an international cable originating in Beaver Harbour, NS. It was re-routed to Sable Island, recommissioned as SITIFOG 2000 and operated for a period. It recently became inoperational and has not been repaired. Teleglobe’s TAT-9 cable was deactivated in 2003.
In addition to the longer interprovincial and international cables described above, numerous submarine telecommunications and power cables provide services to coastal islands along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coastline.
Military Exercise Areas
Canada’s maritime forces engage in a range of operations and activities including sovereignty patrols, maritime surveillance, naval training and combat readiness, search and rescue, humanitarian relief and aid to civil authorities, and operational support to other government departments, including fisheries and environmental protection. Canada’s east coast naval presence is provided through Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT), which has its headquarters in Halifax. To carry out its missions, MARLANT uses a range of platforms, including patrol frigates, coastal defence vessels, destroyers, submarines, ship-borne helicopters and long-range patrol aircraft.
In addition to and during the various types of missions and patrols carried out by MARLANT, naval training activities may take place in designated exercise areas off Nova Scotia. These areas are identified by a set of call names, such as ALPHA (A), BRAVO (B) and CHARLIE (C1 to C3). Each exercise area is zoned for specific types of activities, such as surface and subsurface exercises, bombing practice from aircraft, anti-aircraft firing from surface vessels, and anti-surface firing from surface vessels. The most common activity in the region is subsurface training involving aircraft, surface vessels and submarines. Live fire training is not usually conducted in the MARLANT area. Exercise areas may also be used by foreign vessels or aircraft during periodic multinational exercises or with permission from the Government of Canada. Maps, coordinates and descriptions of military activities permitted in these exercise areas are provided in the Canadian Coast Guard’s Annual Notice to Mariners.
Ongoing Marine Research and Monitoring
This map shows the location of some of the ongoing research and monitoring activities that are carried out on the Scotian Shelf, as well as research institutions whose predominant focus is field research in the marine environment. It is not meant to be a complete picture of all research activities or institutions, but is intended to show sampling locations for some of the long-term projects that monitor the state of the marine environment. Universities are not shown but university field stations that focus on marine research are.
The Atlantic Zone Monitoring Program regularly takes samples along transects, known as “sections.” There are several transects on the Scotian Shelf: the Cabot Strait line across the Cabot Strait, the Louisbourg line across Misaine and Banquereau banks, the Halifax line across Emerald Basin and Emerald Bank, and the Browns Bank line across Browns Bank. The program also takes samples at fixed stations near the coast, including one near the mouth of Halifax Harbour and another near St. Andrews, NB. The program collects physical, biological and chemical data on the marine environment.
Environment Canada maintains a series of moored buoys (shown) and drifting buoys (not shown) to monitor marine weather and for meteorological research. Drifting and moored buoys are also deployed for oceanographic research projects. One long-term project is the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System (GOMOOS), which uses buoys and other devices to collect both oceanographic and weather monitoring data. Two of the GOMOOS buoys (shown) are in Canadian waters. There may be many other research buoys present on the Scotian Shelf and in the Bay of Fundy than are depicted by this map.
The Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey, run by the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, has been using vessels of opportunity to collect plankton samples since 1931 (SAHFOS 2005). Samples from the northwest Atlantic date from 1959. The points shown on the map represent samples taken over the entire history of the program, although for many periods (e.g., from the late 1970s to early 1990s), coverage of the Scotian Shelf is sparse (Myers et al. 1994).
Myers, R.A., N.J. Barrowman, G. Mertz, J. Gamble and H.G. Hunt. 1994. Analysis of Continuous Plankton Recorder Data in the Northwest Atlantic 1959-1992. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 1966.
SAHFOS (Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science). 2005. SAHFOS (16 February 2005).
Marine Fish Research and Monitoring
Scientists at Fisheries and Oceans Canada monitor fish populations of the Scotian Shelf, Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine on an ongoing basis. Some of the most important sources of information on the state of marine fish populations are bottom trawl surveys. Carried out by research vessels, the surveys have been conducted annually since 1970. There are earlier bottom trawl surveys, but these did not occur every year and did not follow the same survey design (Halliday and Koeller 1981). Bottom trawl surveys target groundfish in particular but also provide data for use in the evaluation of pelagic fish and invertebrate resources.
For the annual summer research vessel survey, the Scotian Shelf was divided into strata based on location and depth (Halliday and Koeller 1981). Each of the strata is surveyed in at least two locations each year, with tows that are approximately 1.75 nautical miles. A vertical profile of temperature and salinity is obtained with a conductivity/temperature/depth (CTD) cast at each tow location. Oxygen and nutrient samples are collected and a vertical plankton haul is made at selected stations. Strata that are large generally have more sets allocated to them, although some adjustments have been made to reflect areas where cod, haddock and pollock were historically abundant (Strong and Hanke 1995). Survey locations within each stratum are chosen randomly. The survey is not carried out in shallow coastal waters.
The map shows the depth range category and the number of sets made in each stratum each year. Approximately 300 fishing sets are completed each year and over 8800 have been conducted since 1970.
This map is shown as an example of marine fisheries research and the reader should be aware that there are other surveys that occur. These include cooperative surveys with industry, such as the 4VN and 4VSW sentinel surveys for groundfish, the 4VSW skate survey, the Scotian Shelf and Grand Banks halibut survey, and surveys for invertebrates such as shrimp, scallops, and snow crab. These may use different research designs or different stratification schemes than the summer groundfish survey.
Halliday, R.G. and P.A. Koeller. 1981. A history of Canadian groundfish trawling surveys and data usage in ICNAF Divisions 4TVWX. Canadian Special Publication of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 58.
Strong, M. and A. Hanke. 1995. Diversity of finfish species in the Scotia-Fundy region. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2017.
Marine Tourism: Recreational Activities
There are a wide range of marine tourism activities that occur off the coasts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, such as whale and seabird watching, sport fishing, sea kayaking, sailing, and scuba diving. This map shows some of the marine tourism businesses and organizations that are based along the Atlantic and Fundy coasts of Nova Scotia (as of 2003) and New Brunswick (as of 2004). Because of the way in which tourism activity is recorded, it is difficult to provide a complete picture of marine tourism in the two provinces. Nonetheless, available data indicates that the tourism industry is a significant marine user in coastal areas.
There were at least 174 marine tourism businesses throughout the province of Nova Scotia in 2003 (Praxis 2004). Whale and seabird watching tours made up the largest category of marine tourism operators, with sport fishing and boat tours the second and third largest categories (Praxis 2004). Based on research conducted in 2000, about 5 percent of visitors to Nova Scotia took part in a whale or seabird watching tour in that year, while 7 percent participated in a sport fishing or sightseeing cruise (Corporate Research 2001).
Not surprisingly, whale watching activities tend to be concentrated around areas of whale congregation, particularly around the mouth of the Bay of Fundy and off northern Cape Breton (Economic Planning Group 1997). Other marine tourism activities are more geographically dispersed, with sea kayaking and boating opportunities found in many locations along the coast. All activities tend to be concentrated in coastal rather than offshore areas. The vast majority of tourism activities in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia occur between May and October (NBTP 2003, NSTCH 2004).
Corporate Research Associates. 2001. 2000 Nova Scotia Visitor Exit Survey. Prepared for Nova Scotia Department of Tourism and Culture. Nova Scotia Tourism Partnership Council Website. (9 December 2004).
Economic Planning Group of Canada. 1997. Nova Scotia Marine Tourism Study. Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture, and Heritage Website. (9 December 2004).
NBTP (New Brunswick Department of Tourism and Parks). 2004. Tourism Industry Performance 2003. (9 December 2004).
NSTCH (Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage). 2004. Tourism Insights, June 2004 issue. (9 December 2004).
Praxis Research and Consulting. 2004. Between the Land and the Sea: The social and economic importance of wharves and harbours for Nova Scotia. Prepared for the Coastal Communities Network, Pictou, NS.
Cruise Ship Ports and Passengers
Over the past decade, cruise ship activity has increased rapidly in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick but has remained concentrated around three main ports (ACCA 2003a). Halifax, Nova Scotia is by far the most frequently visited cruise ship port in the region, with 211,000 passengers arriving on 122 cruise ships in 2004 (Halifax Port 2004). This represents an increase in passenger visits of more than 400 percent since 1998. Saint John, New Brunswick and Sydney, Nova Scotia are the second and third most frequently visited ports, with 138,672 and 60,410 passenger visits respectively in 2004 (Saint John Port 2004, Sydney Ports Corp. 2004). Other cruise ship ports in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia operate on a much more limited scale, servicing relatively small coastal cruising vessels. For example, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, which was the fourth most visited cruise ship port in 2003, welcomed only six ships carrying a total of 602 passengers (ACCA 2003b).
The cruise ship industry has become a significant contributor to the economies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. An economic impact study conducted in 2002 estimated that cruise ships brought at least $21.8 million in revenues to the two provinces in that year (MarketQuest Research 2003). This amount has likely grown since the study was conducted, as passenger visits have continued to increase.
Atlantic Canada Cruise Association (ACCA). 2003a. Atlantic Canada Cruise Ship Activity, 1997-2003. Atlantic Canada Cruise Association.
Atlantic Canada Cruise Association (ACCA). 2003b. 2003 Atlantic Canada Cruise Ship Activity Results. Atlantic Canada Cruise Association.
Halifax Port Authority. 2004. Port Business - Cruise. Website. (17 December 2004).
Market Quest Research. 2003. Economic Impact of the Cruise Ship Industry in Atlantic Canada. Prepared for the Atlantic Canada Cruise Association.
Saint John Port Authority. 2004. Cruise Saint John History. Website. (17 December 2004).
Sydney Ports Corporation. 2004. Completed Schedule for 2004. Sydney Ports Corporation Inc.
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