Sable Island, low, sandy island, 25 mi (40 km) long and 1 mi (1.6 km) wide, off N.S., Canada, SE of Halifax. It is the exposed part of a sand shoal that stretches northeast-southwest for more than 100 mi (160 km). The island was known to mariners in the early 16th cent., and a small French semimilitary colony was there from 1598 to 1603. Known as the "graveyard of the Atlantic," Sable Island is a major hazard to navigation and has been the scene of many shipwrecks; at the time of Canadian confederation the island was made the specific responsibility of the national government. It now has two light stations, an airstrip, and a weather station. The island, which is now a national park reserve, is a breeding place for seals and has wild horses and many species of birds. There are natural gas wells offshore.