What is the Grand Bank?

The Grand Bank is a great shoal in the Atlantic Ocean lying about one hundred miles off the southeast coast of Newfoundland and famous throughout the world as a fishing ground. Bank in this connection means an undersea elevation that produces a shoal, shelf or shallow. The Grand Bank is also variously called Grand Banks, Great Bank and Great Banks. It has an area about the size of Pennsylvania. The bank is about 300 miles long, lies less than 600 feet below sea level and projects southeast from the Newfoundland coast toward the center of the Atlantic. Geologists suppose it to be the remnant of an ancient submerged mountain range. The bottom in this region is covered with fine mud and sand and the meeting of two currents brings in an endless supply of diatoms and algae, which supply food for crustaceans and mollusks and other types of invertebrates, and these latter in turn fatten the hosts of codfish that swim in from the deeper water in May and June. Enormous hordes of sardine-like fish known as capelin, which settle upon the sandy bottom to spawn, act as heralds for the codfish. Vessels regularly fishing in the Grand Bank of Newfoundland are called Grand Bankers.