Georges Bank

Georges Bank (formerly known as St. Georges Bank) is a large elevated area of the sea floor between Cape Cod, Massachusetts (United States), and Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia (Canada). It separates the Gulf of Maine from the Atlantic Ocean.

The origin of its name is obscure. The 1610 Velasco map, prepared for King James I of England, used the name "S. Georges Banck", a common practice when the name of the English patron saint, St. George, was sprinkled around the English-colonized world. By the 1850s, it was known simply as Georges Bank.

Map of the Gulf of Maine; Georges Bank is the light blue region in the bottom center of the image.
NASA visible satellite view of Georges Bank (center). Cape Cod is on the left, and southern Nova Scotia can be seen in the upper right.

Physical environment

Georges Bank is the most westward of the great Atlantic fishing banks. The now-submerged portions of the North American mainland now comprise the continental shelf running from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to Georges. Georges Bank was part of the North American mainland as recently as 12,000 years ago.[1]

Roughly oval in shape, Georges Bank measures about 149 miles (240 kilometres) in length by 75 miles (120 kilometres) in width, making it larger than Massachusetts. Located 62 miles (100 kilometres) offshore, Georges Bank is part of the continental shelf. Its depth ranges from several metres to several dozen metres; the entire bank is at least 330 feet (100 m) shallower than the Gulf of Maine to the north.

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).

Commercial fishing

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 singlehandedly responsible for the development of coastal fisheries in towns such as Gloucester, Massachusetts, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

For over 400 years, Georges Bank supported lucrative fisheries for Atlantic cod and halibut. Over time, bottom trawlers became very efficient, some catching as much cod in an hour as traditional boats caught in a season. Bottom trawlers, however, damaged the sea floor coral and sponge habitats, and federal fisheries regulations aim to control this large scale overfishing to establish future sustainability.[2]

From 1976 to 1982, oil companies drilled ten exploratory wells in the U.S. part of the Georges Bank.[3] None were successful, however, and both Canada and the United States have since imposed moratoriums on oil exploration and production on the Georges Bank, to ensure fisheries conservation.[4]

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 fishers from both countries, who respectively asserted claim to the fishery resources. Both nations agreed in 1979 to refer the question of maritime boundary delimitation to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Following five years of hearings and consultation, the ICJ delivered its decision in 1984, which split the maritime boundary in the Gulf of Maine between both nations out to the 200 nautical miles 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.

On September 15, 2016, President of the United States Barack Obama proclaimed the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument to protect the area's marine biodiversity. This protected a portion of Georges Bank from fishing and mining. Despite the protection, commercial fishing for deep sea red crab and American lobster is allowed to continue within the monument for a grace period of seven years.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Woods Hole Science Aquarium
  2. ^ Marine Conservation Biology Institute: Georges Bank Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  3. ^ Gary M. Edson and others (2000) Georges Bank Petroleum Exploration, US Minerals Management Service, OCS Report MMS 2000-031, PDF file, retrieved 19 February 2009.
  4. ^ Giordano, A. C.; Carpenter, G. B.; Amato, R. V. (1983). "Oil and Gas Developments in Atlantic Coastal Plain and Outer Continental Shelf in 1982". AAPG Bulletin. 67 (10): 1566–1569. doi:10.1306/AD46082D-16F7-11D7-8645000102C1865D.
  5. ^ Morey, James (15 September 2016). "President Designates Atlantic Marine National Monument". Vineyard Gazette. Retrieved 29 September 2016.


  • Backus, R. H. and Bourne, D. W. (Eds.). George's Bank. MIT Press, 1987. ISBN 9780262022231

External links

Coordinates: 41°12′36″N 67°22′51.9″W / 41.21000°N 67.381083°W

880 Naval Air Squadron

880 Naval Air Squadron was a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm carrier based squadron formed in January 1941. The squadron served throughout the Second World War being embarked in the carriers HMS Furious, Indomitable, Argus and Implacable serving off East Africa, in the Mediterranean, off Norway and in the Far East. 880 Squadron was disbanded two weeks after VJ day at the Mobile Naval Air Base HMS Nabswick at Schofields, Sydney, Australia.The squadron was re-formed as an anti-submarine squadron of the Royal Canadian Navy in May 1951 and was renamed VS-880 following the USN naming convention in 1952. In March 1975 its role was significantly altered and the squadron was re-designated as 880 Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron under which name it served until CFB Summerside was closed in 1990. From 1981 onwards 880 Squadron provided support for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the government department responsible for managing Canada's ocean resources. 880's CP-121 Trackers were used to patrol Georges Bank and the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to monitor foreign fishing fleets. The squadron has never been officially disbanded and still exists as a "zero strength" unit.


Didemnum is a genus of colonial tunicates in the family Didemnidae. It is the most speciose genus in the didemnid family. Species in this genus often have small calcareous spicules embedded in the tunic and form irregular or lobed colonies. Some Didemnum species, including Didemnum vexillum and Didemnum perlucidem are considered invasive species. In early 2006, Didemnum vexillum was found covering a 230 km2 area of cobble habitat in Georges Bank off the coast of New England, and is classified as an invasive species of greatest concern in coastal areas throughout Europe, New Zealand, and North America. Didemnum sp. invasions have also been recorded in Canada, the Mediterranean, and the Netherlands.Species in this genus can be found in tropical or temperate regions. Some tropical species such as Didemnum molle have photosynthetic algae in their tunics.

Fishing industry by country

This page lists the world fisheries production for 2005. The tonnage from capture and aquaculture is listed by country.

Fishing industry in the United States

As with other countries, the 200 nautical miles (370 km) exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the coast of the United States gives its fishing industry special fishing rights. It covers 11.4 million square kilometres (4.38 million sq mi), which is the largest zone in the world, exceeding the land area of the United States.According to the FAO, in 2005, the United States harvested 4,888,621 tonnes of fish from wild fisheries, and another 471,958 tonnes from aquaculture. This made the United States the fifth leading producer of fish, after China, Peru, India, and Indonesia, with 3.8 percent of the world total.

Governor Ames

The Governor Ames was the first five-masted schooner. In the late 19th century, she was the world's largest cargo vessel.

She was launched on December 1, 1888, by the Leavitt-Storer shipyard of Waldoboro, Maine, United States, and was named for Oliver Ames (then the Governor of Massachusetts). The Governor Ames was owned and operated by the Atlantic Shipping Company based in Somerset, Massachusetts.

Although the Governor Ames was the first five-masted schooner, she was preceded by the five-masted Great Lakes barkentine David Dows, which was confusingly called a schooner despite having a square-rigged foremast. The David Dows was longer than the Governor Ames but otherwise smaller.

The schooner's first voyage, in ballast to Baltimore, Maryland, resulted in disaster on December 11, 1888, when the foremast snapped in high winds, taking the other masts with it and dismasting the Governor Ames completely. The anchor chain also broke, and the schooner ran aground on Georges Bank.Refloated and towed to port, the vessel was remasted with shorter masts,

following which it sailed from Maine to Buenos Aires in Argentina with a cargo of 1,896,000 board feet (4,470 m3) of spruce and pine lumber valued at $29,868, believed to be the largest or second largest cargo ever taken by an American vessel at the time.The lumber trade proving profitable, she was employed for the next five years in that trade, venturing far away from the Eastern seaboard and its coal trade for which she was built. She rounded Cape Horn to bring lumber to Redondo Beach, California, and was then employed hauling lumber from Pacific ports to Australia. Returning to the waters of the Eastern United States via Cape Horn once more, she entered the coal trade finally in Fall 1894.On May 30, 1899, the Governor Ames grounded in eighteen feet of water near Key West, Florida.

With assistance from the tug Childs and other schooners and the jettisoning of 200 short tons (180 t) of coal, the Governor Ames was refloated the next afternoon without major damage.The Governor Ames was wrecked in a gale on December 13, 1909, four miles off Cape Hatteras on the North Carolina coast, having sailed on December 9 from Brunswick, Georgia, bound for New York with a cargo of railroad ties piled high on her deck. The schooner was driven onto Wimble Shoals and broke up within two hours. Thirteen of the fourteen aboard perished, including the master, Captain King, and his wife. The sole survivor was one Joseph Speering of New York.

Gulf of Maine

The Gulf of Maine (French: Golfe du Maine) is a large gulf of the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of North America. It is bounded by Cape Cod at the eastern tip of Massachusetts in the southwest and by Cape Sable Island at the southern tip of Nova Scotia in the northeast. The gulf includes the entire coastlines of the U.S. states of New Hampshire and Maine, as well as Massachusetts north of Cape Cod, and the southern and western coastlines of the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, respectively.

The gulf was named for the adjoining English colonial Province of Maine, which was in turn likely named by early explorers after the Province of Maine in France. Massachusetts Bay, Penobscot Bay, Passamaquoddy Bay, and the Bay of Fundy are included within the Gulf of Maine system; as such, the Gulf of Maine is also home to the highest tidal variations on the planet (see Bay of Fundy for further information).


The haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) is a saltwater fish from the family Gadidae, the true cods, it is the only species in the monotypic genus Melanogrammus. It is found in the North Atlantic Ocean and associated seas where it is an important species for fisheries, especially in northern Europe. It is also an important food fish and it is marketed fresh, frozen and smoked; smoked varieties include the Finnan haddie and the Arbroath smokie.

Lobster Wars

Lobster Wars, also known as Deadliest Catch: Lobstermen in the United Kingdom, is a documentary television series on the Discovery Channel. It documents men and one woman fishing for lobsters off the Georges Bank near the northeastern coast of North America. It first aired on August 23, 2007.Like the similarly themed Deadliest Catch (a documentary-style reality series based on crab fishing on the Bering Sea), Lobster Wars is produced by Original Productions for Discovery, and is based on a pilot miniseries also produced by Original Productions, Lobstermen: Jeopardy at Sea. Executive Producer Thom Beers narrates the show in the US whereas voice artist Bill Petrie narrates it in the UK. The show features six boats: The Dragon Lady, The Timothy Michael, The William Bowe, The Direction, The Rachel Leah and The Excalibur — a fishing trawler that causes high tensions between the other 5 boats.

Neomysis americana

Neomysis americana is an "extremely common" species of opossum shrimp along the Atlantic coast of North and South America. The species has a disjunct distribution, being present in an area extending from the Saint Lawrence River to Florida, and separately in parts of Argentina (Blanca Bay, Anegada Bay and Samborombón Bay). There may be a further division within the North American populations between those north of Cape Henry, Virginia (including Georges Bank) and those from North Carolina southwards. N. americana is an important prey item for a number of fish species, including the Atlantic silverside, the bluefish and the windowpane flounder, Scophthalmus aquosus. Adults typically have a carapace length of 2.5–4 millimetres (0.10–0.16 in).

New England Seamounts

The New England Seamounts are an underwater chain of seamounts in the Atlantic Ocean stretching over 1,000 km from the edge of the Georges Bank off the coast of Massachusetts. The chain consists of over twenty extinct volcanic peaks, many rising over 4,000 m from the seabed. It is the longest seamount chain in the North Atlantic and harbours a diverse range of deep sea fauna. Scientists have visited the chain on various occasions to survey the geologic makeup and biota of the region. The chain forms part of the Great Meteor hotspot track, having formed by the movement of the North American Plate over the New England hotspot. The oldest volcanoes that were formed by the same hotspot are northwest of Hudson Bay, Canada. Part of the seamount chain is protected by Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.

This seamount range has been known under a variety of different gazetted names, including the Kelvin Seamounts, Kelvin Seamount Group, Kelvin Banks, New England Seamount Chain and the Bermuda-New England Seamount Arc.

Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument

The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is a marine national monument of the United States off the coast of New England, on the edge of Georges Bank. It was created by President Barack Obama on September 15, 2016. It is the first U.S. national marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

Ocean bank

An ocean bank, sometimes referred to as a fishing bank or simply bank, is a part of the seabed which is shallow compared to its surrounding area, such as a shoal or the top of an underwater hill. Somewhat like continental slopes, ocean banks slopes can upwell as tidal and other flows intercept them, resulting sometimes in nutrient rich currents. Because of this, some large banks, such as Dogger Bank and the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, are among the richest fishing grounds in the world.

There are some banks that were reported in the 19th century by navigators, such as Wachusett Reef, whose existence is doubtful.

Redeye gaper

The redeye gaper, Chaunax stigmaeus, is a sedentary species of anglerfish in the family Chaunacidae. It is native to deep waters in the western North Atlantic from the Georges Bank off New England southward to the Blake Plateau off South Carolina. The species is found on the outer continental shelf and upper continental slope at a depth of 90–730 m and among dense beds of dead coral (Lophelia pertusa) rubble, their preferred habitat. The original type specimen was caught in a trawl off Atlantic City on March 1, 1946, and donated to the Academy of Natural Sciences by Carroll B. Atkinson. The name stigmaeus means "speckled" in Greek.The redeye gaper has a rounded, slightly compressed body and a very large head. The mouth is large, with a protruding lower jaw and teeth arranged in bands. The skin is soft, loose, and very pliable (especially on the underside), forming folds over much of the head and body. The fish is covered with minute spinules that give it a velvety texture. The lateral line system has prominent open canals. The pectoral fins are small, with 14 fin rays. The first dorsal fin ray is modified into an angling apparatus (the illicium) with a lure (the esca). The esca consists of a cluster of filaments of varying thickness and is black to blue to greenish gray in front, and brilliant white behind. The illicium has two dark rings, though this is faint or absent in a few individuals.The coloration is olive green above with large irregular blotches surrounded by smaller circular spots, extending into the rays of the dorsal, pectoral, and caudal fins. There is often a kidney- or figure-8-shaped blotch on the nape. These spots appear darker than the background in preserved specimens, but are a lighter greenish-yellow color in life. The underside is rose-colored with large, diffuse lighter patches; the red color extends up the sides of the head forward of the eyes, encompassing the jaws. The fin membranes are also shades of red. The iris is a deep rose red. This species attains a maximum of 30.5 cm total length.Redeye gapers are sedentary ambush predators that spend most of their time resting on the sea floor on their pectoral and pelvic fins, moving only to capture prey or avoid predators. They attract prey to them using their movable esca. If threatened, they raise themselves up on their pelvic fins and rapidly take in water to increase the size of their bodies. Redeye gapers are known to be able to survive the temperature and pressure changes from being brought to the surface.

Silver roughy

The silver roughy or Mediterranean slimehead (Hoplostethus mediterraneus) is a small deep-sea fish species belonging to the slimehead family (Trachichthyidae). It is found widely at depths of 100 to 1,175 m (328–3,855 ft) in the Atlantic, ranging from Iceland and Georges Bank in the north to South Africa and Brazil in the south, including the Mediterranean and Gulf of Mexico. It is also found in the Western Indian Ocean, including the Red Sea.

Texas Tower 2

Texas Tower 2 (ADC ID: TT-2) is a former United States Air Force Texas Tower General Surveillance Radar station. It was located 110 miles (180 km) east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts in 56 feet of water. The tower was closed in 1963 and dismantled.Located on Georges Bank, Texas Tower 2 was one in a series of manned radar stations that were so named because they resembled the oil-drilling platforms of the Gulf of Mexico. Air Defense Command (ADC) estimated that the Texas Towers would help extend contiguous East Coast radar coverage some 300 to 500 miles seaward. In terms of Soviet military capabilities, this would provide the United States with an extra 30 minutes of warning time in the event of an incoming bomber attack.

Texas Tower 3

Texas Tower 3 (ADC ID: TT-3) is a former United States Air Force Texas Tower General Surveillance Radar station. 50 miles (80 km) southeast of the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts in 80 feet of water. The tower was closed in 1963 and dismantled.Located on Georges Bank, Texas Tower 3 was one in a series of manned radar stations that were so named because they resembled the oil-drilling platforms of the Gulf of Mexico. Air Defense Command (ADC) estimated that the Texas Towers would help extend contiguous East Coast radar coverage some 300 to 500 miles seaward. In terms of Soviet military capabilities, this would provide the United States with an extra 30 minutes of warning time in the event of an incoming bomber attack.

Texas Towers

The Texas Towers were a set of three radar facilities off the eastern seaboard of the United States which were used for surveillance by the United States Air Force during the Cold War. Modeled on the offshore oil drilling platforms first employed off the Texas coast, they were in operation from 1958-1963. After the collapse of one of the towers in 1961, the remaining towers were closed due to changes in threat perception and out of a concern for the safety of the crews.

Winter flounder

The winter flounder, Pseudopleuronectes americanus, (also known as black back) is a right-eyed ("dextral") flatfish of the family Pleuronectidae. It is native to coastal waters of the western north Atlantic coast, from Labrador, Canada to Georgia, United States, although it is less common south of Delaware Bay. It is the most common near-shore (shallow-water) flounder in the waters from Newfoundland down through Massachusetts Bay, reaching a maximum size around 61 cm in length and 2.25 kg in weight. The species grows larger on Georges Bank, where they can reach a length of 70 cm and weight of 3.6 kg. Although winter flounder historically supported large commercial and recreational fisheries, biomass and landings have decreased since the 1980s.

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