North Vancouver Island shore, Johnstone Strait, Queen Charlotte Strait, Cape Caution.
#1) Endangered, threatened or vulnerable species
#2) Feeding concentration
#4) Migration corridor
#5) Species diversity
This area includes the primary summer feeding ground of the Northern Resident killer whales, centered in northern Johnstone Strait-Blackfish Sound area. The whales hunt Chinook salmon whenever present in the region.
This ICA includes a feeding range of the southern feeding group of gray whales (that range from southeast Alaska to northern California in summer). Gray whales feed along the top of Vancouver Island from Cape Scott to Nawhitti Bar, across to Roller Bay on Hope Island, and along the shores of the Cape Caution region. The migrations of the full herd of gray whales pass through these waters in spring, and probably winter.
Humpbacks are also common in this area, with concentrations shifting with their prey.
Several other species on of whales and dolphins are also common in this area, including Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoise, and Minke whales.
|Canada (SARA)||USA (ESA)|
|Northern Resident Killer Whales||Threatened||N/A|
|Gray Whales||Special Concern||None|
Published Papers and Books
Bigg, M.A. 1982. An assessment of killer whale (Orcinus orca) stocks off Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Rep. Int. Whaling Comm. 32:655–666 .
Bigg M.A., Olesiuk P. F., Ellis, G.M., Ford J.K.B., and Balcomb, K.C. III. 1990. Social organization and genealogy of resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the coastal waters of British Columbia and Washington State. Rep. Int. Whaling Comm. 12 (Spec. Issue): 383–405.
Clarke, C.L., and Jamieson, G.S. 2006. Identification of ecologically and biologically significant areas in the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area: Phase 1 – Identification of Important Areas. Can Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2678: 89 pp.
Darling, J.D. 1984. Gray whales off Vancouver Island, British Columbia. In: The Gray Whale Eschrictius robustus. Ed. by: M.L. Jones, S.L. Swartz, and S. Leatherwood. Academic Press, New York. pp. 267-287.
Darling, J.D., Keogh, K.E., and Steeves, T.M. 1998. Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) habitat utilization and prey species off Vancouver Island, B.C. Marine Mammal Science, 14(4): 692-720.
Ford J.K.B., and Fisher H. D. 1982. Killer whale (Orcinus orca) dialects as an indicator of stocks in British Columbia. Rep. Int. Whaling Comm. 32: 671–679.
Ford, J.K.B. 1989. Acoustic behaviour of resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) off Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Can. J. Zool. 67: 727-745.
Ford, J.K.B. 1991. Vocal traditions among resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) in coastal waters of British Columbia. Can. J. Zool. 69: 1454-1483.
Ford, J.K.B., Ellis, G.M. and Balcomb K.C. 2000. Killer whales: the natural history and genealogy of Orcinus orca in the waters of British Columbia and Washington. UBC Press, Vancouver, BC, and University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA.
Gregr, E.J., and Trites, A.W. 2001. Predictions of critical habitat for five whale species in the waters of coastal British Columbia. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 58:1265-1285.
Gregr, E. J., Nichol, L., Ford, J. K. B., Ellis, G., and Trites, A. W. 2000. Migration and population structure of northeastern Pacific whales off coastal British Columbia: An analysis of commercial whaling records from 1908-1967. Mar. Mamm. Sci. 16(4): 699-727.
Ford, J.K.B., Durban, J.W., Ellis, G M., Towers, J.R., Pilkington, J.F. Barrett-Lennard, L.B., and Andrews, R.D. 2012. New insights into the northward migration route of gray whales between Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and southeastern Alaska. Marine Mammal Science. ( In Press).
Olesiuk, P.F., Bigg, M.A., and Ellis, G.M. 1990. Life history and population dynamics of resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the coastal waters of British Columbia and Washington State. Rep. Int. Whal. Commn. Special Issue 12: 209-242.
Stelle, L.L., Megill, W.M., and Kinzel, M.R. 2008. Activity budget and diving behavior of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) in feeding grounds of coastal British Columbia. Mar. Mamm. Sci. 24: 462-478.
Williams, R., and Thomas, L. 2007. Distribution and abundance of marine mammals in coastal waters of British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management. 9(1): 15-28.
Williams, R., and O’Hara, P. 2010.Modelling ship strike risk to fin, humpback and killer whales in British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management. 11(1): 1-8.
Williams, R., Ashe, E., and O’Hara, P.D. 2011. Marine mammals and debris in coastal waters of British Columbia, Canada. Marine Pollution Bulletin 62: 1303-1316.
Bigg M. A., MacAskie, I.B., and Ellis, G. 1976. Abundance and movements of killer whales off eastern and southern Vancouver Island with comments on management. Arctic Biological Station, Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and Environment, Ste Anne-de-Bellevue, QC.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2008. Recovery strategy for the northern and southern resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa. 81pp.
Ford J.K.B. 2006. An assessment of critical habitats of resident killer whales in waters off the Pacific coast of Canada. Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2006/072.
Ford, J.K.B., Abernethy, R M., Phillips, A.V., Calambokidis, J., Ellis, G.M., and Nichol, L. M. Distribution and relative abundance of cetaceans in western Canadian waters from ship surveys, 2002-2008. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2913. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo, BC. 51 pp.
Nichol, L.M., Abernethy, R., Flostrand, L., Lee, T.S., and Ford, J.K.B. 2009. Information relevant to the identification of critical habitats of North Pacific humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in British Columbia. Can. Sci. Adv. Sec. Res. Doc. 2009/116.
Nichol, L.M. and Ford, J.K.B. 2011. Information relevant to the assessment of critical habitat for Blue, Fin, Sei and North Pacific Right Whales in British Columbia. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2011. 31 pp.
Olesiuk, P.F., Ellis, G.M., and Ford, J.K.B. 2005. Life history and population dynamics of northern resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) in British Columbia. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Res. Doc. 2005/045.