The Labrador Sea (French: mer du Labrador) is an arm of the North Atlantic Ocean between the Labrador Peninsula and Greenland. The sea is surrounded by continental shelves to the southwest, northwest, and northeast. It connects to the north with Baffin Bay through the Davis Strait. It has been described as a marginal sea of the Atlantic.
The Labrador Sea is about 3400 meters deep and 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) wide where it joins the Atlantic Ocean. It becomes shallower, to less than 700 m (383 fathoms; 2,297 ft) towards Baffin Bay and passes into the 300 kilometres (190 mi; 160 nmi) wide Davis Strait.
The water temperature varies between −1 °C (30.2 °F) in winter and 5–6 °C (41–43 °F) in summer. The salinity is relatively low, at 31–34.9 parts per thousand. Two-thirds of the sea is covered in ice in winter.
The northern and western parts of the Labrador Sea are covered in ice between December and June. The drift ice serves as a breeding ground for seals in early spring. The sea is also a feeding ground for Atlantic salmon and several marine mammal species. Shrimp fisheries began in 1978, as well as cod fishing. The cod fishing quickly lessened the fish population in the 1990s and was stopped in 1992. Other fishery targets include haddock, Atlantic herring, lobster and several species of flatfish and pelagic fish such as sand lance and capelin. Bigger amounts are in the southern parts of the sea.
The Labrador Duck was a common bird on the Canadian coast until 19th century, but is now extinct. Coastal animals include the Labrador Wolf, caribou, moose, black bear, red fox, arctic fox, wolverine, snowshoe hare, grouse, osprey, raven, ducks, geese, partridge and American wild pheasant.
Costal vegetation includes black spruce, tamarack, white spruce, dwarf birch, aspen, willow, ericaceous shrubs, cottongrass, sedge, lichens and moss. Evergreen bushes of Labrador tea, which is used to make herbal tea, are common in the area, both on the Greenland and Canadian coasts.
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