Georges Bank

Georges Bank

Georges Bank is a large elevated area of the sea floor which separates the Gulf of Maine from the Atlantic Ocean and 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 shelf and during the Wisconsin Glaciation was 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 Newfoundland to Georges.

Gulf of Maine shelf 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 Hatteras and 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, Massachusetts and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

During the 1960s and 1970s, oil exploration companies determined that the seafloor beneath Georges Bank possesses untold petroleum reserves. However, both Canada and the United States agreed 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 Justice at The Hague in 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.

External links

* [ House Passes comprehensive energy bill, protecting Georges Bank from oil and gas exploration] .

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • georges bank flounder — |jȯr]jə̇z , |jȯ(ə)] noun Usage: usually capitalized G&B Etymology: from Georges Bank, elevation under the sea east of Cape Cod, Mass. : a brownish yellow flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus dignabilis) called also lemon sole …   Useful english dictionary

  • Georges Bank — Geor′ges Bank′ [[t]ˈdʒɔr dʒɪz[/t]] n. geg a bank extending generally NE from Nantucket: fishing grounds. 150 mi. (240 km) long …   From formal English to slang

  • Georges Bank — /jawr jiz/ a bank extending generally NE from Nantucket: fishing grounds. 150 mi. (240 km) long. * * * Submerged sandbank in the Atlantic Ocean east of Massachusetts, U.S. It has long been an important fishing ground, with scallops harvested in… …   Universalium

  • Georges Bank — /jawr jiz/ a bank extending generally NE from Nantucket: fishing grounds. 150 mi. (240 km) long …   Useful english dictionary

  • Georges Bank — geographical name submerged sandbank in the Atlantic E of Massachusetts …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • bank — bank1 /bangk/, n. 1. a long pile or heap; mass: a bank of earth; a bank of clouds. 2. a slope or acclivity. 3. Physical Geog. the slope immediately bordering a stream course along which the water normally runs. 4. a broad elevation of the sea… …   Universalium

  • Georges — (as used in expressions) Bataille Georges Bernanos Georges Bidault Georges Augustin Bizet Georges Bonnet Georges Étienne Boulanger Georges Ernest Jean Marie Braque Georges Buffon Georges Louis Leclerc comte de Clemenceau Georges Cuvier Georges… …   Universalium

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