Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is currently defining Large Ocean Management Areas with the goal of developing Integrated Management Plans for these Areas. This process is based on Oceans Act policy which calls upon DFO to lead and facilitate a National Oceans Strategy. The Science Branch of Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Pacific Region was asked by the Central Coast Integrated Management (CCIM) Working Group to propose modifications to the Central Coast 'working boundary' based on scientific and ecosystem information. The basis for the proposed modifications in this paper is the use of scientific information to locate boundaries such that environmental characteristics on one side of the boundary differ significantly from those on the other. The physical attributes of bathymetry and substrate type were found to be the most useful in producing well defined changes in habitat, which in some cases were supported by data revealing differences in the biological communities. The resulting proposed CCIM Area roughly corresponds to the Queen Charlotte Sound, Queen Charlotte Strait and Johnstone Strait ecosections as defined by the British Columbia Marine Ecosystem Classification system. Differences between those ecosections and the proposed boundary include a modified northern boundary with Hecate Strait, a new definition of the base of the continental slope, the inclusion of a portion of the West Coast of Vancouver Island down to Brooks Peninsula, and the exclusion of Bute and Toba Inlets. The proposed landward boundary was defined using 'height of land' or watershed principles. The proposed boundary is based on currently available knowledge and data. Modifications to the boundary may be required as scientific progress defines, and fills, data gaps.
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