IBA Goose Island Group and Banks
Bella Bella, British Columbia
Site Summary
BC105 Latitude
51.621° N
128.825° W
0 - 66 m
4,052.44 km²
coniferous forest (temperate), native grassland, bog, open sea, coastal cliffs/rocky shores (marine), cliffs/rocky shores (inland)
Land Use:
Not Utilized (Natural Area)
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Fisheries, Industrial pollution, Other environmental events, Oil slicks, Recreation/tourism
IBA Criteria: Nationally Significant: Congregatory Species
Conservation status:
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Site Description
The Goose Group of islands lie off the mainland coast of British Columbia along the east side of Hecate Strait at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, and at the north end of Vancouver Island. The site is approximately 30 km southwest of Bella Bella and 150 km north of Port Hardy. Abundant rocks, reefs and small islets, characterize the shallow nearshore waters surrounding the islands. The area is exposed to the open Pacific Ocean. The larger islands are low-lying with extensive rocky shores, sandy bays, tidal mudflats and sandflats. A forest fringe of Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock and Western Red-cedar gives way to a boggy interior. Extensive kelp beds in the area provide habitat for Sea Otters, while Harbour Seal use the site for hauling out and pupping. Goose Banks are 20 to 80 km southwest of the island group, where water depths are generally less than 50 m.
The Goose Island Group and Banks IBA site qualifies as a nationally significant site for Black Oystercatcher. Surveys in 1988 found 17 pairs, which is about 2% of the Canadian population.

Marbled Murrelets, a nationally threatened species, were seen on the water during surveys in 1988 and 1990, with 129 and 100 birds recorded, respectively. Surveys in the 1940s found larger numbers of Pigeon Guillemots around Goose Island than in the 1980s. Their decline is probably due to the presence of mink on the island, a mammal that was not recorded during 1940s surveys.

The complex nearshore waters contain diverse fish populations, which provide a rich environment for marine-associated birds during spring and summer. Generally, the shallow waters (<200 m deep) over the continental shelf support the highest pelagic bird numbers. Shipboard surveys along the coast have identified Goose Banks as one of the areas that supports high concentrations of pelagic birds. Although the precise number of birds using these banks is unknown, during spring there is a significant nearshore migration of Sooty Shearwaters and Red-necked and Red phalaropes.

IBA Criteria
SpeciesT | A | I Links Date Season Number G C N
Buller's Shearwater 2007 FA 40 - 55
Marbled Murrelet 1988 - 1990 SU 100 - 129
Pink-footed Shearwater 2007 FA 80
Note: species shown in bold indicate that the maximum number exceeds at least one of the IBA thresholds (sub-regional, regional or global). The site may still not qualify for that level of IBA if the maximum number reflects an exceptional or historical occurrence.
Conservation Issues
To date, no conservation measures have been taken for this area.

The IBA Program is an international conservation initiative coordinated by BirdLife International. The Canadian co-partners for the IBA Program are Birds Canada and Nature Canada.
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