UPDATE: St. Anns Bank to become a marine protected area in 2016 (Decemeber 20th 2015)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has selected St. Anns Bank, an area east of Cape Breton on the Eastern Scotian Shelf, as an Area of Interest for possible establishment as a Marine Protected Area under the Oceans Act.
St. Anns Bank was identified because it contains the following ecological and biological features:
A variety of habitat types, which range from the shallow waters of the Bank to the deeper waters of the Laurentian Channel;
High diversity of fish species;
Important habitat for species at risk (e.g., Atlantic wolffish), depleted species (e.g., Atlantic cod), and several commercial species that are at low biomass levels (American plaice, white hake, redfish, witch flounder);
Sensitive ocean bottom habitats and species, such as corals and sponges;
A summer foraging area for the endangered leatherback turtle; and
A migration corridor for many fishes and marine mammals.
The St. Anns Bank area was selected from three candidate areas following a seven-month public consultation period that took place between October 13, 2009 and May 14, 2010. This area was chosen because of its natural features and the support it received during the consultation period.