Georges Bank Moratorium Extended to 2032

The provincial and federal governments have extended the moratorium on oil and gas exploration and drilling on Georges Bank to December 31, 2032.

The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act and mirror federal legislation (collectively referred to as the Accord Acts) allow the federal and provincial ministers to jointly prohibit oil and gas activities in Georges Bank. The Accord Acts allow extensions of the moratorium in increments of up to 10 years. The moratorium was due to expire on December 31, 2022.

“Nova Scotians want resource development to be balanced with strong protections for the environment. As we work toward our clean energy goals, our governments are extending the Georges Bank moratorium to ensure offshore development strikes this important balance,” said Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables.

Georges Bank is a large submarine bank at the edge of the Atlantic continental shelf between Cape Cod and Nova Scotia. It is a natural habitat for a wide range of fish, marine mammals and corals. As one of the world’s most productive fishing grounds, Georges Bank also supports important commercial fisheries.

“By extending this moratorium on offshore oil and gas activities in Georges Bank, we are maintaining a unique and valuable ecosystem for current and future generations. This decision is in keeping with the shared goals of both the federal and provincial governments to protect our oceans and our economy while continuing to work toward a clean energy future.”
     – Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources Canada

“Georges Bank is a vital area to Nova Scotia’s fishery that is economically important for both the harvesting and processing sectors. Many Nova Scotians and their families rely on it for their living. It’s a special marine ecosystem that has been historically linked to Nova Scotians’ way of life for generations and can continue to contribute to the prosperity of our people well into the future.”
     – Steve Craig, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture

“To provide the data needed to inform this decision, our team recently commissioned a science and socio-economic report on Georges Bank. This work involved careful evaluation of credible and objective fisheries and scientific information and the creation of a detailed report. This report provided the federal and provincial governments with the data needed to support evidence-based decision-making related to the Georges Bank moratorium.”
     – Alisdair McLean, Executive Director, Net Zero Atlantic

Quick Facts:
— a legislated environmental and socio-economic impact study was done before deciding on the extension of the moratorium
— under the Accord Acts, extending the moratorium must be a joint decision of the ministers of Natural Resources Canada and Natural Resources and Renewables

Additional Resources:
Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act:

2021 review of environmental and socio-economic impacts of the Georges Bank Prohibition Area:

Map of Georges Bank protected area:

Source: Release

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