Salish Sea

The Salish Sea is located between the Northwest end of the United States and the Southwest end of Canada.

The Salish Sea covers a total area of 300 miles (480 kilometers), it has a big passage at its center and a number of other small passages on the north that connects it to the Pacific Ocean.

Its coast has many small islands, inlets, and river deltas.

The swells of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State and the Island of Vancouver protect the Salish Sea from the harsh Pacific Ocean.

Salish Sea Facts for Kids

  • The major parts of the Salish Sea include the islands of Gulf and San Juan, Puget Sound, Hood Canal, Georgia Straits, Straits of Juan de Fuca, and Desolation Sound.
  • The sea was named as Salish in order to honor the first occupants of the region around the sea who was known as the Coast Salish People.
  • The Salish Sea is one of the biologically richest and largest inland seas on earth.
  • Salish Sea is under the control of the governments of Canada and the USA, however, there is an international boundary between the USA and Canada which does not lie on any natural barrier.
  • The total length of the coastline of the Salish Sea is approximated to be about 4,641 miles which are equivalent to 7,470 kilometers.
  • The Salish Sea has a maximum depth which is estimated to be 650 meters.
  • The first exploration of the Salish was done in 1792 by a European man known as Captain George Vancouver.
  • The Salish Sea is a home of many islands with the total number of islands being 419 islands excluding shoals and reefs.
  • The total area of the land covered by the islands in the Salish Sea is estimated to be 3,660 square kilometers which is equivalent to 1,413 square miles.
  • The total surface area of the waters of the Salish Sea is 16, 925 square kilometers (6,534 square miles)
  • The total human population living in the area surrounding the Salish Sea is estimated to be approximately 8 million people.
  • Salish Sea is a home for many different marine animal species whereby it is believed that there are about 37 different species of mammals, 172 species of birds, 247 different types of fish, and more than 3000 different species of invertebrates all living in the Salish Sea.
  • Salish Sea is the second largest inlet in the United States of America after the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Salish Sea has unique features which include deep inlets and icy deposits.
  • The Salish Sea is believed to be a habitat for more than 3000 different species of marine invertebrates thus making it an ideal and favorite area for divers.
  • Some of the biggest and longest-lived animals have been observed to make their homes in the Salish Sea for example the biggest octopus in the universe named as North Pacific Giant Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) have been found in the Salish Sea.


Question: Which other animals that are believed to be the largest and the oldest have lived in the Salish Sea?

Answer: Balanus nubiles which are the largest barnacle (15 cm across and 30 cm tall).
Plumose Anemone (Medtridium Senile) which is the largest Sea Anemone (51 cm). Red urchins which is over 150 years old.
The Salish Sea has 25 species of rockfish that can live for over 50 years.
Question: Which are the endangered species according to the US Endangered Species Act or the Canadian Species at Risk Act?

Answer: Southern Resident killer whales, marbled murrelets, and some species of Pacific salmon.