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Geog162 Chapter 9 Atlantic Canada.docx

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Simon Fraser University
GEOG 162
Michele Wiens

Chapter 9 Atlantic Canada Physical Geography Atlantic Canada is in 2 of Canada’s physiographic regions Appalachian Uplands (Maritimes and Newfoundland)-rugged coast, upland interior is hilly and mountainous Canadian Shield (Labrador)-fjord coastline, rugged interior and tall Torngat Mountains Annapolis Valley-low lying area in Nova Scotia with sandy soil (best agricultural land in Nova Scotia) Characteristics -Canada’s oldest hinterland -a downward transitional region -troubled by past exploitation of renewable resources (fish) and exhaustion of its most accessible and richest non-renewable resources (iron, ore, coal) but there’s hope -consistent patterns of fragmentation and dispersal -diversity of physical environment -lack of large urban areas -lack of large urban markets -fragmented interests despite regional identity Unifying Factors -sea -historical roots (British laws and institutions) -Appalachian Mountains -low state of socio-economic conditions The Continental Shelf-a margin at which North America broke off from Europe and African continents (90-200 million years ago) This left some deep cracks in the crust which have been filled in leaving sedimentary basins (one is Jeanne d’Arc Basin 10km deep, contains Hibernia oil formation) Why this is a good environment for fishing Plankton and fish thrive because of -broad, shallow continental shelf -located where 3 huge ocean currents meet and mix (the cool Labrador current sweeps down from the Arctic and the Gulf stream carries warm Caribbean water northward (optimum conditions for cod) -appears to be a link between hydrocarbon sea bottoms and abundance of shellfish, especially where there is seepage of hydrocarbon gases (e.g. Grand Banks and North Sea) The Banks-former beaches that were flooded as ice sheets retreated; sand, gravel were sorted; silt, clay were removed and deposited in the deep ocean basins -about 15,000 years ago during the Pleistocene Ice Age, the ocean reached its lowest level between 110 and 220m below present sea level (glacial ice was at its max extent; contained huge amounts of water) -since glacial melt, the ocean has been rising in the current interglacial period (3 mm per year) -the banks appeared as a series of islands, probably inhabited y wildlife for a long time until they were swallowed by the rising sea (e.g. woolly mammoth, wild pig, etc) -only land that survived is Sable Island (sand is 60m thick) -there are 2 other places that lie only 4-5 m under water Virgin Rocks-eastern shoals are on Grand Banks George’s Shoal-flat, sandy in Georges Bank Inshore and Offshore Fisheries Inshore Offshore Location Within 16-25km of shore To the edges of continental shelf up to 370km from shore % fishing industry labour force 85% 15% % total catch 10% 90% Type of boats Smaller Larger (trawlers, etc) Ownership of boats Individuals, small companies Large companies Type of employment Self Unionized Fishing Season Warmer months Year long Other Dominating Areas Scotian Shelf-within reach of inshore fisher people all along the coast of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick (catch cod, haddock, flounder, Pollock, hake, herring, crab, scallop, lobster, etc) Labrador Fishery-covers vast ocean area east of Labrador coast and north and east of Newfoundland; fishery dominated by north cod -stock is fished by offshore draggers (multimillion dollar steel vessels) State of the Fishing Industry It is been critical to the well-being of the Atlantic region’s economy -employs 1 in 10 persons -sustains about 1300 towns -renewable resource but there is concern that fish stocks aren’t healthy in any of the banks Fishing Trends (The Newfoundland Resettlement Program) Centralization of fishing settlements -government assistance to relocate residents of small settlements -larger settlements have fish processing plants and improved facilities (health, education, amenities) Trend towards more offshore fishing (larger ships) Fishing-an industry at the crossroads Decline of the Fish Stocks -by 1974 overfishing by 20 nations has decimated Labrador Banks and Grand Banks -in 1977 Canada responded with 370km exclusive fishing zone and a ban on foreign draggers -in 1992 the federal government announced a moratorium on cod fishing in the Atlantic (an ecological crisis) Reasons for the Decline of Fish Stocks Combination of Factors -foreign fleets -overfishing (many nations, new technology) -government incorrectly assessed fish stocks (quotes were too high); also, they were pressured to keep the fishery open (inaction because it was politically unpopular to shut down fishing) In the 1980s interest rates
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