Cape Sable Island is a flat, wooded island off the southwestern tip of Nova Scotia. Connected to the mainland by a causeway on the north side, it shelters the waters of Barrington Bay to the east. The MIKMAQ hunted seals off Cape Sable Island. Acadians settled here but did not return after they were deported in 1756 (see alsoACADIA, HISTORY OF). The Acadians were later replaced by PLANTERS from Massachusetts. The main settlement on the island is CLARK'S HARBOUR, which has been incorporated as a town since 1919.
The primary industry is fishing, with major landings of lobster and scallops. Ground fishes (eg, cod and haddock) were also important catches before the collapse of that fishery in the early 1990s. There is also a strong tradition of boatbuilding here: the first Cape Island boat, the familiar craft of Atlantic inshore fishermen, was launched in 1905. In summer the island is often shrouded in fog, produced when warm, moist continental air encounters the unusually cold surface waters off CAPE SABLE. The low sea surface temperatures are caused by intense tidal mixing that blends cold deep water with the warmer surface layer. These conditions also support a highly productive ecosystem and are, in part, responsible for the valuable fisheries.