Eastern Coastal Shelf

The Eastern Coastal Shelf forms a broad, shallow area of the Gulf of Maine that extends from the southwestern tip of Nova Scotia. It supports fisheries for scallops, lobsters and groundfish.1

Surface area
3,067 mi2

Intertidal zone to ~100m.

Bathymetry including key features
Brown’s Bank is a dominant feature of the seaward edge of the Eastern Coastal Shelf. A bedrock channel over 100m in depth separates the bank from the rest of the Eastern Coastal Shelf.2

In shallow areas, where tidal energy has winnowed away finer sediments, the bottom is characterized by sand and gravel deposits. Deeper waters include scattered fields of sand waves and some areas where silt and clay have accumulated.3

Relationship to large-scale circulatory patterns of the Gulf of Maine
Cool and relatively fresh currents flow from the Scotian Shelf across the Eastern Coastal Shelf before contributing their flows to the Eastern Maine Coastal Current.4,5

Information on average (seasonal/annual) oceanographic conditions
Due to the shallow nature of the coastal shelf, the water column in this area is well mixed by tidal action. The coastal shelf is separated from the stratified interior of the Gulf by a tidal front.6

Presence of GoMOOS buoy
Buoy L is located west of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

1 Nova Scotia Departments of Agriculture and Fiaheries and Aquaculture, Undated
2 Kostylev, et al., 2001
3 Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, Undatedf.
4 Xue, et al., 2000
5 Pettigrew, et al., 2005
6 Xue, et al., 2000