Moratorium on Oil and Gas Activities in Georges Bank Comes into Effect

April 20, 2016
Natural Resources Canada

The sustainability and health of one of North America’s most valuable marine ecosystems will be better protected thanks to ongoing collaboration between the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia.

The Honourable Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, and his provincial counterpart, the Honourable Michel Samson, Minister of Energy for Nova Scotia, have 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.”

Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources

“Georges Bank is a unique ocean ecosystem, which is highly valued by the fishing industry, Indigenous communities and scientists alike. Protecting Georges Bank is a priority for the Government of Canada as we continue to work collaboratively with Nova Scotia and our partners to ensure our oceans are healthy and sustainable for current and future generations.”

Hunter Tootoo, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“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.”

Michel Samson, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Energy


Laurel Munroe
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada


Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada

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