Friday, February 24, 2023

Canada's Coastline by Joan Donaldson-Yarmey


Canada’s Coastline

I am a Canadian and all my mystery, historical, romance, and young adult novels are set in Canada. Canada is the second largest country in the world and has the world’s longest coastline. It is 243,792 km (151,485.326 mi in length and borders on the North Pacific, Arctic, and North Atlantic Oceans and includes the coasts of Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton island, as well as, thousands of off-shore islands. The next closest country is Indonesia with 54,716 km (33,999 mi). The sovereign country of Monaco has 5.6 km (3.5 mi) of coastline.

Part of Canada’s coastline encompasses Hudson Bay which, even though it is saltwater, is sometimes considered a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. While politically it is considered part of Nunavut, it borders on Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, and Nunavut. Hudson Bay is famous for the fur trade between Europeans and Indigenous peoples from the 1600s to the 1900s.

Canada has ten provinces and three territories. Two of the provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, are land locked. The others plus the territories all have some part of their coast on saltwater. The province of British Columbia has the most with 25,725 km (15,985 mi) on the Pacific Ocean, while the Yukon Territory has only 343 km (213 mi) along the Arctic Ocean.

The government of Canada has set aside five key ecosystems of Canada’s coastline as Large Ocean Management Areas (LOMA) for conservation, planning, and management. The Pacific North Coast comprises one-quarter of the Canadian Pacific ocean waters. This area is home to sea lions, dolphins, seals, porpoises, and twenty-seven different whale species. It is also the habitat of 80% of the global population of Cassin’s Auklet plus a number of other seabirds. The glass sponge reef along the coast dates back 9,000 years.

The people around the Eastern Scotian shelf rely on fishing and petroleum exploration for their livelihood to the detriment of the region and the number of marine animals that live there. LOMA is trying to improve the area. Although, shore around the Placentia Bay area off the coast of Newfound and Labrador  is degrading due to economic development, it is still the habitat for 49 bird species, 14 marine animal species, and 23 fish species. There are also a number of plant species.

The Beaufort Sea is a marginal sea (a division of water separated from an ocean by islands, peninsulas, or archipelagos) in the Arctic Ocean off the shore of the Yukon and Northwest Territories. This LOMA is a complex a marine system because of the short summer free of ice, the freshwater flowing into the sea during the spring and summer and the increased dropping of sediment. It has been an important area for humans who have hunted and fished for centuries. Six communities oversea the management of the LOMA and by doing so are able to pass on their harvesting skills to future generations.

The fifth LOMA protected area is the Gulf of St Lawrence which sits at the mouth of the St Lawrence River and covers 155,000 sq km (60,000 sq mi). Some of the species that inhabit the waters are Greenland shark, the St. Lawrence beluga, giant whales, seals, tiny pink crustaceans called krill that are near the bottom of the food chain, sea ducks, and geese. It is a very productive and diverse estuary along the coasts of Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfound land and Labrador.



  1. Like the term a marginal sea. I've enjoyed your stories and learning more about our neighbor to the north

  2. Thank you for sharing. It's always exciting to learn as we read. I like novels where the setting is authentic, as well as the local history.


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