Map of Scott Islands Highlights Important Areas for Migratory Birds

Wildlife on archipelago off Canada’s Pacific coast needs additional safeguards

Map of Scott Islands Highlights Important Areas for Migratory Birds
Scott Islands
Home to tufted puffins such as those shown above, as well as to the highest concentration of breeding seabirds on Canada’s Pacific coast, the Scott Islands archipelago is the first national wildlife area set aside for marine protection in 45 years. But the area still needs a strong management plan.
Sabine Jessen/Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

The Scott Islands archipelago rises above some of the most treacherous waters off the British Columbia coast, known for strong currents and battering waves that crash into the islands’ steep, craggy cliffs. Yet, during the spring and summer, these islands—Triangle, Sartine, Beresford, Lanz, and Cox—are vital breeding, resting, feeding, and foraging grounds for birds: The archipelago attracts 5 million to 10 million migratory seabirds annually.

More than half of the world’s population of Cassin’s auklets nest on the islands, along with large numbers of rhinoceros auklets and charismatic tufted puffins. Located at an upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water supporting Pacific sand lance, saury, krill, and other forage fish that sustain colonies of seabirds and sea lions, the Scott Islands are protected as a national wildlife area (NWA). But the archipelago needs additional safeguards.

The Canadian Wildlife Service is working with local First Nations, marine industries, and conservationists to create a strong management plan for the marine NWA to ensure that these islands and their surrounding waters are conserved well into the future.

Peter Baker directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ ocean conservation work in Canada and New England.

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