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Hope Spot - Southeast Shoal of the Grand Banks: where mammoths once walked

About Hope Spot - Southeast Shoal of the Grand Banks: where mammoths once walked
Jutting into the North Atlantic Ocean are the Grand Banks—a shallow, submerged extension of Newfoundland with a long history of fishing in a place where mammoths once walked. Located on the southern portion of the Banks is a 10,300 square kilometer sandy plateau called the Tail or Southeast Shoal. This site, rising to within 40 to 60 meters of the surface, is one of the major areas where the cold, southward-flowing Labrador Current and the warmer, northward-flowing North Atlantic Current meet. The confluence of these currents along the shallow plateau results in an abundance of nutrients that fuel phenomenal populations of a small fish called capelin. Their abundance provided world-class feeding ground for Atlantic cod, Atlantic halibut, northern gannets, harbor porpoises and fin whales. So abundant were the cod on the Grand Banks that explorers prior to Columbus voyaged from Portugal and Spain to fish them. Cod populations could have been sustained forever had they been managed wisely. Instead, intensive overfishing in the area has severely depleted this species and damaged their critical habitat. In places such as the Southeast Shoal, where fishing remains a threat and fish populations are depleted, no-fishing areas are an important means for recovery. Under international law, most but not all of the Grand Banks is within Canada’s exclusive economic zone.
About Mission Blue
Mission Blue is an initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance to ignite public support for the protection of Hope Spots through the creation of a global network of marine protected areas to safeguard 20% of the ocean by 2020.