satellite view of Salish Sea
Satellite view of Salish Sea (NASA)

Where on Earth Is the Salish Sea?

Less than half of the people in Washington and British Columbia have heard of the Salish Sea, even though they live alongside it.

That’s according to a recent report from the SeaDoc Society, a program of the University of California, Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine, and Oregon State University. The study reveals that only 5 percent of people in Washington and 14 percent of British Columbians can identify the Salish Sea — the marine ecosystem that spans the United States-Canada border and includes both Seattle and Vancouver.

The study surveyed 2,405 residents of Washington and British Columbia to measure familiarity with the name and geography of the Salish Sea, which is home to more than 8 million people. It spans from Olympia, Washington, in the south, to Campbell River, British Columbia, in the north, and includes Puget Sound, the Strait of Georgia and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

“The results of this study are both fascinating and sobering,” said Markus Naugle, regional director of SeaDoc Society, which is part of the UC Davis Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center. “With targeted efforts in education, outreach, and collaboration, we have a tremendous opportunity to make great strides towards our goal of ‘everyone asked knows the Salish Sea.’”

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