The Small Craft Harbours (SCH) Branch, Maritimes and Gulf Regions covers the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
The management area of the SCH sites in these three provinces is divided into six sectors. Each sector has a SCH Area Manager and one or more Business Managers responsible for the management of the SCH program, with assistance from staff in Regional Headquarters most of them located in the Moncton office.
Click on an area to view that sector.
The main characteristic of the Eastern New Brunswick sector, in terms of both geography and fishing, is variety. Located on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, this area comprises both rocky and sandy coastlines. Eastern New Brunswick is home to the largest mid-shore fleet in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, fishing snow crab and herring. The inshore fishery is the main fishery in this sector. Tides are moderate. Ice conditions result in very limited fishing activity in the winter. This sector is a very popular tourist area and fishers often share the waters with pleasure boaters during the summer months. In this sector there are 42 harbour authorities managing 43 Small Craft Harbours sites.
The Southern New Brunswick sector is located in the Bay of Fundy, world-renowned for its spectacular tides of up to 10 metres (30 feet). Harbours and wharves in this area are influenced by these tides and this is reflected in their design and size. Lobster fishing and salmon farming are the main commercial fishing activities and create a lot of traffic on wharves in this sector. The Bay of Fundy is not locked in by ice in winter, therefore wharves are in use throughout the year. In this sector there are 14 harbour authorities managing 28 Small Craft Harbours sites.
The Gulf Nova Scotia sector includes the Nova Scotia coast on the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the New Brunswick border to Bay St. Lawrence on the northern tip of Cape Breton. The sandy and rocky coastline is quite uniform with moderate tides. Harbours in this area are not in use in winter as the Gulf of St. Lawrence is covered with ice. This area is home to a major inshore fishery. Larger vessels used in the mid-shore snow crab and herring fisheries are based in Cheticamp, the largest harbour in the sector. Vessels from other provinces fishing for crab spend a considerable amount of time at Cheticamp. Whale watching enterprises are increasing in number in certain locations of this sector. There are 30 harbour authorities managing 33 Small Craft Harbours sites in this sector.
The Eastern Nova Scotia sector mainly consists of harbours on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Nova Scotia coastline, along with a few wharves in the Bay of Fundy. Geographic and maritime conditions vary in such a wide-ranging sector. Most harbours are blocked by ice in winter, therefore activity at these wharves is mainly seasonal, except in the harbours in the Bay of Fundy, which are open year-round. Eastern Nova Scotia consists mainly of small ports used for inshore fishing by vessels of less than 45 feet. There are several larger harbours on Cape Breton Island. In this sector there are 34 harbour authorities managing 41 Small Craft Harbours sites.
The Southwest Nova Scotia sector has two different shorelines; on one side is the Bay of Fundy with its high tides up to 10 metres (30 feet) and on the other is the Atlantic Ocean, with more moderate tides. Both areas feature rocky coastlines and ice-free waters most of the year. As a general rule, wharves are in use all year and support numerous fisheries, including the inshore lobster fishery, mid-shore groundfish, scallop and herring fishing, and salmon farming. In this sector there are 71 harbour authorities managing 91 Small Craft Harbours sites.
Prince Edward Island is located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and is separated from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia by the Northumberland Strait. It is characterized by a large number of sandy and shallow bays. Tides, ranging from 0.6 to 2.7 metres (2 to 9 feet) have little effect at the harbours, but the sand bars resulting from the currents they create require regular maintenance dredging to keep channels navigable. The area’s marine habitat is very favourable for lobster, and the inshore fishery of this species is a major activity. Prince Edward Island waters also contain major aquaculture operations of blue mussels and oysters in the shallow and nutrient-rich bays. Commercial activity on the wharves is concentrated in the summer and fall months, as the Gulf of St. Lawrence is covered with ice during the winter. In this sector there are 42 harbour authorities managing 46 Small Craft Harbours sites.