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Small Craft Harbours - Maritimes and Gulf Regions

Learn about the Small Craft Harbours program in the Maritimes and Gulf regions, which covers New Brunswick (NB), Nova Scotia (NS) and Prince Edward Island (PEI).

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About the program

The Small Craft Harbours program oversees and maintains a system of harbours in the sector. The sector is divided into 6 areas where each is responsible for the management of the program with assistance from regional headquarters in Moncton, NB.

Eastern New Brunswick

Eastern New Brunswick (ENB) is home to an important inshore lobster fishery and the largest mid-shore fleet in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, fishing snow crab and herring. ENB is also a popular tourist destination where commercial fishermen often share the waters with pleasure boaters during the summer months. Fishing activity is limited in the winter due to ice conditions.

Southern New Brunswick

The Southern New Brunswick sector is located in the Bay of Fundy where spectacular tides of up to 10 metres (30 feet) can be observed. In this area, harbour design and size are influenced by these tides. Lobster fishing and salmon farming are the sector's main commercial fishing activities. As the Bay of Fundy is generally not confined by ice in winter, harbours are in use year-round.

Gulf Nova Scotia

This area is home to important inshore fisheries, including lobster. Larger vessels used in the mid-shore snow crab and herring fisheries are based in Cheticamp, the largest harbour in the sector. Harbours in this area are closed in the winter as the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence is covered with ice.

Eastern Nova Scotia

Most harbours are locked in by ice in winter, except in the Bay of Fundy, where harbours are open year-round. Eastern Nova Scotia consists mainly of small ports used for inshore fishing by vessels of less than 45 feet.

Southwest Nova Scotia

The Southwest Nova Scotia sector has two different shorelines: the Bay of Fundy with its high tides up to 10 metres (30 feet), and the Atlantic Ocean with more moderate tides. Both areas feature rocky coastlines and ice-free waters most of the year. Harbours are generally in use year-round and support numerous fisheries including the inshore lobster fishery, mid-shore groundfish, scallop and herring fisheries, as well as salmon farming.

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island is characterized by a large number of sandy and shallow bays. Tides can range from 0.6 to 2.7 metres (2 to 9 feet). Sand bars, resulting from currents these tides create, require regular maintenance dredging to keep channels navigable. The inshore lobster fishery is an important commercial activity in this area where marine habitat is favorable for the species. Prince Edward Island waters also contain important aquaculture operations of blue mussels and oysters in the shallow and nutrient-rich bays. Commercial activity occurs mainly from spring to fall, as the Gulf of St. Lawrence is covered with ice during winter.

Photos of small craft harbours in the area

The following photo is of small craft harbours in the Maritimes and Gulf regions. Harbours from left to right are Bay St. Lawrence, NS, Alma, NB, Georgetown, PEI, Hall's Harbour, NS, and Caraquet, NB.

small craft harbours in the Maritimes and Gulf regions. Harbours from left to right are Bay St. Lawrence, NS, Alma, NB, Georgetown, PEI, Hall's Harbour, NS, and Caraquet, NB.

How to reach us

For additional information or to become a volunteer, contact regional headquarters at  1-800-983-6161 (toll-free).

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