- Georges Bank
Georges Bank is a large elevated area of the sea floor which separates the
Gulf of Mainefrom the Atlantic Oceanand is situated between Cape Cod, Massachusetts(USA) and Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia(Canada).
The origin of its name is obscure. The Velasco map in 1610 prepared for King James I of England used the name 'S. Georges Banck'; a common practice where the English patron saint St George's name was sprinkled around the English colonized world. By the 1850s it was known as simply as Georges Bank.
Georges Bank is oval shaped and measures approximately 149 miles (240 kilometres) in length by 75 miles (120 kilometres) in width, making it larger in area than the state of Massachusetts. Located 62 miles (100 kilometres) offshore, Georges Bank is part of the
continental shelfand during the Wisconsin Glaciationwas actually part of the North American mainland. Now submerged, its depths range from several metres to several dozen metres, placing almost the entire bank fully 330 feet (100 m) (or more) shallower than the Gulf of Maine to the north.
Georges Bank is the most westward of the great Atlantic fishing banks - those now-submerged portions of the North American mainland which now comprise the continental shelf running from the
Grand Banks of Newfoundlandto Georges. Gulf of Maineshelf waters are the Bank's primary source. They enter the northern flank, move clockwise around the eastern end, and then westward along the southern flank, mostly emptying into the Mid-Atlantic Bight (the continental shelf ocean between Cape Hatterasand Georges Bank).
Georges Bank, while not having the most productive fishery in the world (the Grand Banks takes this claim), has great prominence in that it is probably the most geographically accessible of all the fishing banks in the North Atlantic. Lying adjacent to New England's famous seaports, Georges Bank is single-handedly responsible for the development of coastal fisheries in towns such as Gloucester,
Massachusettsand Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
During the 1960s and 1970s, oil exploration companies determined that the seafloor beneath Georges Bank possesses untold petroleum reserves. However, both
Canadaand the United Statesagreed to a moratorium on exploration and production activities in lieu of conservation of its waters for the fisheries.
The decision by Canada and the United States to declare an
Exclusive Economic Zone(EEZ) of 200 nautical miles (370 km) in the late 1970s led to overlapping EEZ claims on Georges Bank and resulted in quickly deteriorating relations between fishermen from both countries who claimed the fishery resources for each respective nation. In recognition of the controversy, both nations agreed in 1979 to refer the question of maritime boundary delimitation to the International Court of Justiceat The Haguein The Netherlands. Following five years of hearings and consultation, the IJC delivered its decision in 1984, which split the maritime boundary in the Gulf of Maine between both nations out to the 200 NM limit, giving the bulk of Georges Bank to the United States. Canada's portion of the Gulf of Maine now includes the easternmost portion of Georges Bank.
* [http://www6.lexisnexis.com/publisher/EndUser?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=101846&topicId=103840033&docId=l:853618908 House Passes comprehensive energy bill, protecting Georges Bank from oil and gas exploration] .
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