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Pacific North Coast

The Pacific North Coast planning area encompasses the Northern Shelf Bioregion. This approximately 101,000 km² area extends from the coastal watershed in the east to the base of the continental shelf slope in the west and from the Canada-U.S. border of Alaska in the north to northwest Vancouver Island (Brooks Peninsula) and Quadra Island in the south.

The planning area is the transition zone where the Alaska Coastal Current and the California Current meet. It is home to approximately 40 Indigenous Nations. Key industries include:

Due to its relative remoteness and intrinsic ecological and biological richness, it also provides important habitat for many marine animals including fish, marine mammals, invertebrates and birds. There are also a number of Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs)Footnote 1 identified in the planning area.


We will coordinate marine spatial planning (MSP) in the Pacific North Coast planning area in partnership with First Nations governments and organizations, federal departments and agencies and provincial ministries. MSP is subject to existing and developing management agreements, plans, land claims and treaties and reconciliation agreements. Important stakeholders include the marine industry sectors and their representatives, non-governmental organizations and several multi-sector groups and committees. By working together, we:


Since 2014, Canada has partnered with 15 First Nations and the Province of British Columbia (BC) to create a planned approach for a network of Marine Protected Areas in the Northern Shelf Bioregion. Completion of this initiative has been our priority, as it provides a spatial plan for conservation objectives, which can be used to support broader marine spatial planning for multiple objectives. Once the network planning initiative is complete and a Network Action Plan has been released, we will begin the transition to broader marine spatial planning. Our approach will build on existing planning in the north coast and complement planning underway in the south coast.

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