ⓘ Malpeque Bay is the second largest bay in terms of surface area in Prince Edward Island, following Hillsborough Bay. It is also notable for almost dividing the ..

                                     

ⓘ Malpeque Bay

Malpeque Bay is the second largest bay in terms of surface area in Prince Edward Island, following Hillsborough Bay. It is also notable for almost dividing the province; an isthmus occupied by the city of Summerside and the unincorporated communities of North St. Eleanors, Sherbrooke and Travellers Rest separates Malpeque Bay from Bedeque Bay on the islands south shore.

                                     

1. Islands

Malpeque Bay has several islands located along its northern border as well as entirely within the bay itself:

  • Mary Fraser Island
  • Bird Island
  • Hog Island, a barrier island forming the northern boundary of Malpeque Bay
  • Little Rock
  • Ram Island
  • Little Courtin Island
  • Fish Island, a section of Hog Island that occasionally separates/joins due to erosion and accretion
  • Courtin Island
  • Lennox Island
                                     

2. Inlets

Malpeque Bay has several inlets:

  • Hardys Channel, separating Hog Island and the Conway Sand Hills connects the northwestern part of Malpeque Bay to the open Gulf of St. Lawrence
  • Ship Channel / Malpeque Harbour, separating Hog Island/Fish Island from Royalty Point in Prince Royalty, connecting the northeastern part of Malpque Bay to the open Gulf of St. Lawrence
  • Conway Narrows, connects the northwestern part of Malpeque Bay to Cascumpec Bay
                                     

3. Communities

The city of Summerside is the largest population centre directly fronting the bay. The following communities are located along the bays shoreline from west to east:

  • Indian River
  • Darnley
  • North St. Eleanors
  • East Bideford
  • Slemon Park
  • Hamilton
  • Port Hill
  • Sherbrooke
  • Grand River
  • Southwest Lot 16
  • New Annan
  • Summerside
  • Bayside
  • Malpeque
  • Wellington Centre
  • Central Lot 16
  • Travellers Rest
  • Lennox Island First Nation
  • Clermont
  • Birch Hill
  • Belmont Lot 16
  • Baltic
                                     

4. Ramsar site

Malpeque Bay was classified as a wetland of international importance via the Ramsar Convention on April 28, 1988. It consists of marine and coastal wetlands ranging in altitude from sea level to 8 m. It is protected from the Gulf of St. Lawrence by a sandspit and dune formation that stretches 25 km. Small rivers and creeks are the source of freshwater for the lagoon.

It is "important for supporting large nesting colonies" of herons and cormorants, and is a meaningful nursery area for fin and shell fishes. Malpeque oysters are prized by connoisseurs.

The bay supports several recreational areas, primarily at Cabot Beach Provincial Park and Green Park Provincial Park.

There is some concern regarding development of the area and its surroundings. There has been extensive cottage development on the eastern and southern shores of the bay since the 1950s. Prince Edward Islands largest industrial operation, two french fry processing plants operated by Cavendish Farms, discharge into the Barbara Weit River in the southeastern corner of the bay. A petition was also organized in the early 2000s to stop a proposed wind energy project along the eastern shore of the bay which was submitted to Natural Resources Canada. However, the development never took place. The recreational use of the area is a "threat to nesting and brood-rearing Piping plovers."

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