Southern Strait of Georgia

Between Vancouver and Victoria lie the emerald waters of the Southern Strait of Georgia, home to Canada's most endangered killer whales. You can help to protect this incredible natural habitat by asking the government to complete the Southern Strait of Georgia National Marine Conservation Area.

The Southern Strait of Georgia is home to more than 3000 species. These include many “world giants” such as the world’s largest octopus, 100-year-old rockfish, vast schools of herring and salmon, millions of birds, as well as seals and sea lions, dolphins and whales, including the iconic southern resident killer whales.

The incredible natural beauty and abundance of life led scientists, including world-renowned ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, to call for its protection back in 1970. In 2003, Parks Canada and the provincial government began working to establish the Southern Strait of Georgia National Marine Conservation Area, but over a decade later, the area is still not protected.

We agree that this stretch of ocean should be protected forever – from the seabed to the shore – before it’s too late!


A National Marine Conservation Area Reserve

National Marine Conservation Areas are a type of marine protected area created by Parks Canada, which have the same goals as a national park – conservation, public understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment – in addition to the goal of sustainable use.

Activities such as commercial and recreational fishing, shipping, transportation, tourism and recreation are still allowed in the region, but are managed in a conservation-oriented manner.  Traditional food, social and ceremonial harvesting by First Nations peoples are also allowed.


To read more about the proposed National Marine Conservation Area reserve – see this project update from Parks Canada.



The threat

The Southern Strait of Georgia is “…the most heavily utilized and impacted of all the marine regions on the west coast of Canada” and “…Canada’s most at-risk natural environment” according to Parks Canada. 22 species in the region are either federally designated as Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, or considered high conservation priority by the government of British Columbia.

Increased shipping traffic, shoreline development, noise pollution, cruise ship travel, fishing and the effects of climate change are all heavy stresses on the marine ecosystem, and new industrial uses are still being proposed.

Cumulatively, these uses threaten the many plants and animals whose health and well-being is intimately connected to our own quality of life. 


What CPAWS is doing

CPAWS-BC leads the Southern Strait of Georgia Marine Conservation Network  - a coalition of conservancy and community groups, scientists, and stakeholders in the Southern Gulf Islands working to support and strengthen efforts to protect the marine environment. Our goal is to raise public awareness and support for NMCA establishment and to encourage individuals to voice their opinions.

In 2012 more than 500 supporters like you sent letters to Parks Canada  during the public comment period to show support for the NMCA and make four key recommendations:

1. The boundary should be increased to include a large chunk that had been removed along the North East edge of the proposed boundary.
2. Protection should be extended up to the high tide line to protect valuable intertidal habitat.
3. The whole NMCA should be established ‘in one go’ rather than phased in to ensure that vulnerable species and habitat get the protection they need right away.
4. That the NMCA needs to include a core network of “no-take” areas.

Although the public comment period is closed the Southern Strait of Georgia needs your help now more than ever. We need you to pledge your support for the Southern Strait of Georgia National Marine Conservation Area. Please check back soon for our new action page. 

This year, TAKE BACK THE WILD is offering free campaign training to seniors living in the Gulf Islands and southern Vancouver Island, ensuring that local community members have the skills they need to protect the Southern Strait of Georgia. Applications are open until October 15th, 2017: apply now!


Stay updated

Never miss your chance to make a difference! Join our mailing list to get CPAWS news and actions delivered right to your inbox.

Join mailing list