Water Stewardship Information Sources

Citation Johannessen, D.I., Macdonald, J.S., Harris, K.A., and Ross, P.S. 2007. Marine environmental quality in the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA), British Columbia, Canada: A summary of contaminant sources, types and risks. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2716: xi + 53 p.
Organization DFO
URL http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/328420.pdf
Abstract/Description or Keywords Under the terms of Canada’s Oceans Act (1997), Fisheries and Oceans Canada has
embarked on an approach to Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) which aims to
protect the structure, function, and quality of marine ecosystems from human impacts.
This report aims to provide the reader with an overview of the contaminant sources,
types, and risks in the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA) as
these relate to marine environmental quality (MEQ), and builds on two previously
published reports generated for sub-regions of the PNCIMA, namely the central coast
(Haggarty et al. 2003) and the north coast and Queen Charlotte Islands (Johannessen et
al. 2007).
The PNCIMA includes 102,000 km2
of ocean, covering roughly two-thirds of the BC
coast. While sparsely populated (3.3% of BC’s total population), the PNCIMA is faced
with a growing list of threats to MEQ. The PNCIMA extends from the southern end of
Johnstone Strait and the Brooks Peninsula on Vancouver Island northwards to the British
Columbia (BC) - Alaska border and includes the marine area out as far as the base of the
continental slope, and the Queen Charlotte Islands (Figure 1.1). The region is rugged,
with a steep, glaciated mainland covered in dense rainforest and bisected by numerous
fjords and inlets, while the coast is dominantly rocky and strewn with islands. The
influence of two semi-permanent atmospheric pressure cells (the Aleutian Low and the
North Pacific High) over the Pacific Ocean provides this area with some of the highest
rainfall amounts in Canada, along with mild winters and cool summers.
The remote location and low population would suggest that there are few anthropogenic
stresses in the area. However, a number of human activities take place in the area that
can affect MEQ. Key among the past and present activities are aquaculture, vessel
traffic, ports / harbours / marinas, forestry, pulp and paper, mining / smelting, ocean
dumping, Coast Guard / military sites, oil and gas, and global pollutants. In many cases,
source control and regulations have mitigated some of these activities, including a
reduction in the by-production of dioxins and furans by pulp mills, the elimination of
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and many organochlorine (OC) pesticides, and
restrictions on the use of tributyltin on ship hulls as an antifoulant. However, a number of
emerging threats to MEQ in the PNCIMA reflect growing industrial sectors, and include
the potential exploration and extraction of offshore oil and gas, a significant increase in
cruise ship traffic, expanding port facilities, and the expanding aquaculture sector.
Information Type report
Regional Watershed Central Coast
Sub-watershed if known
Aquifer #
Project status complete
Contact Name
Contact Email