Prince Edward Island

Natural Resuorces:

The 2 major resources of the Island are the soil and the sea. Mineral resources have not been discovered in commercial quantities although trace deposits of coal, uranium, vanadium and other minerals exist. Since 1940, drilling has revealed the existence of natural gas beneath the seabed off the northeast part of the province, but no commercially exploitable finds have been made. Mining to date has been restricted to open-pit removal of sand and gravel, but the latter is of low quality and in insufficient quantities to meet even local demand.

The marked contrast between the raw southern coast and the long, narrow sand spits formed across the northern shores. The light green and purplish patches show farmers' fields (courtesy Canada Centre for Remote Sensing). Agriculture, based on the rich soil and temperate climate of the province, is the most important primary resource industry. Most Island soils are coarse-textured sandy loams with a very low stone content. In general the soil is moderately acidic and it is common practice periodically to add lime to the soil to reduce the acidity. Close to 50% of the Island's land has been identified as being highly productive and upwards of 90% of the entire province is potentially farming land. Although the area actually in agricultural production has dropped in recent years, some land is still being cleared, especially for high-value crops such as potatoes and tobacco. Fishing, especially for lobster and cod (before the moratorium of the early 1990s was put into place), is the second important resource industry of the Island. A supplementary shellfish fishery includes scallops, oysters, clams and lately mussels. Forestry is relatively undeveloped on the Island, because of the depleted state of the woodlands and lack of effective management of the remaining resource. There have, however, been some attempts to improve the quality of the forest cover. Since 1945, through exploiting the appeal of PEI's unspoiled landscape and sandy beaches, tourism has emerged as a major industry. It has not been an unmixed blessing; often it has brought inappropriate and random development, dependence on low seasonal wages and loss of land to off-Island owners.