Canada sets moratorium on offshore drilling in Georges Bank

Canada has, through Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, and his provincial counterpart, Michel Samson, Minister of Energy for Nova Scotia, enacted a statutory moratorium on oil and gas activities in the Canadian portion of Georges Bank. The moratorium took effect April 15.

Georges Bank, a large submarine bank at the edge of the Atlantic continental shelf between Cape Cod and Nova Scotia, provides habitat for a wide range of marine fish, mammals and corals. As one of the world’s most productive fishing grounds, Georges Bank also supports important commercial fisheries.

The Georges Bank Protection Act, which received all-party support in the House of Commons, entered into force on February 27, 2016, and provides the Ministers with new authorities to prohibit oil and gas activities in “this sensitive area.”

Minister Carr and Minister Samson have signed a joint ministerial notice establishing a moratorium on offshore oil and gas activities in Georges Bank until 2022. The Act also provides for the possibility of further extensions through subsequent ministerial notices.

“The Government of Canada recognizes the importance and environmental sensitivity of the Georges Bank area, and, together with Nova Scotia, we have taken steps to protect this valuable ecosystem. Canada will continue to work in collaboration with Nova Scotia to ensure that the ecological health of this vital and unique area is maintained for the benefit of generations of Canadians to come,” said Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

“For nearly 30 years, we’ve maintained the balance between protecting our ocean environment and reaping significant economic benefits from responsible offshore energy development. Georges Bank is an ecologically rich and sensitive area that supports many Nova Scotia communities and families who make their livelihood from it. This is why it is so important to continue to protect it,” said Michel Samson, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Energy.

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