Photo/Video Archive of In Situ Benthic Imagery from the St. Anns Bank Marine Protected Area
St. Anns Bank is an exceptional habitat that has many ecologically and biologically significant features. It has the highest annual sea surface temperature range on the Scotian Shelf, and provides important habitat for commercial and non-commercial species, such as Atlantic cod, redfish, white hake, witch flounder, and a variety of sponges, corals and sea pens. Scientific surveys have recorded more than 100 species and a wide variety of habitat types. In addition, St. Anns Bank is part of an important migration corridor for fish and marine mammals, including whales, moving in and out of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and St. Lawrence Estuary. For these reasons, a 4,364 km2 area encompassing St. Anns Bank was designated as a Marine Protected Area by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in June 2017 (https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/mpa-zpm/stanns-sainteanne/index-eng.html). The conservation objectives for the MPA are: • Conserve and protect all major benthic, demersal (i.e., close to the sea floor) and pelagic (i.e., in the water column) habitats within the MPA, along with their associated physical, chemical, geological and biological properties and processes; • Conserve and protect marine areas of high biodiversity at the community, species, population and genetic levels within the MPA; and • Conserve and protect biological productivity across all trophic levels so that they are able to fulfill their ecological role in the ecosystems of the MPA. Here we provide benthic imagery (566 photos, 2 video transects) collected from two research cruises conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in 2009 and 2015, prior to the establishment of the MPA. The imagery can be used in future to monitor the effectiveness of the MPA and were obtained from drop camera systems. In 2009, two photo transects were obtained from the 4KCam (Geological Survey of Canada) and two photo transects from Campod (Fisheries and Oceans Canada). The Campod transects also had associated forward and downward facing video. In 2015, five photo transects were conducted with the 4KCam. The 4KCam houses a Canon Rebel EosTi 12 megapixel camera triggered automatically when the system touches the seafloor. Campod is an instrumented tri-pod equipped with a downward-facing Nikon D300 12 megapixel camera. Technical details for both camera systems can be found in Korabik et al. (2021): https://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2021/mpo-dfo/Fs97-6-3430-eng.pdf .