About the Book
About the Authors
About the Publisher


About the Book

The Strait of Georgia is one of the world’s great inland seas, a 6,515-square-kilometre body of water lying between the British Columbia mainland and Vancouver Island. Rich in history and teeming with wildlife and marine traffi c, the waterway is essential to British Columbians for food, jobs, travel and recreation. The sheltered shores of the strait are home to Canada’s largest seaport and over two-thirds of the province’s population.

The Sea Among Us is the first book to present a comprehensive study of the Strait of Georgia in all its aspects, featuring chapters on geology, oceanography, invertebrates and marine plants, fish, marine mammals, birds and human history. Expert contributors describe how fjords formed, what the sea fl oor is made of and why coastal BC is so prone to earthquakes; they advise on which jellyfish sting, how to tell the difference between Dall’s and harbour porpoises and where to fi nd whales; and they address how climate change and human impact could affect the strait noting that though marine ecosystems are tough and adaptable there are limits to this resiliency.

Informative, descriptive, cautionary and entertaining, The Sea Among Us is illustrated with colour photographs, fi gures and drawings. It is an essential addition to any BC library, and is a must for scientists, educators and anyone interested in sustaining one of British Columbia’s greatest and most productive assets.

All author royalties go toward the Pacific Salmon Foundation, whose support for this project was indispensable.


About the Authors

John J. Clague is a Canada Research Chair and director of the Centre for Natural Hazard Research at Simon Fraser University. He received his BA at Occidental College, an MA at the University of California Berkeley and a PhD at the University of British Columbia. He was employed as a research scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada (Natural Resources Canada) from 1975 until 1998, at which time he joined the faculty in the Department of Earth Sciences at Simon Fraser University. Clague has written over 200 journal papers on a range of earth science topics, as well as two popular books on the geology and geologic hazards of southwest British Columbia and a textbook on natural hazards. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, former president of the Geological Association of Canada, and past-president of the International Union for Quaternary Research.


Richard E. Thomson graduated with a PhD in physics and oceanography from the University of British Columbia in 1971. He spent the next 43 years as a researcher at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, BC. His work has ranged from field experiments, to mathematical theory, to numerical modelling. His research also covered a wide variety of disciplines, from ocean physics to the biology of deep hydrothermal venting regions, Pacific fisheries, sea birds, marine geophysics and geology and atmospheric dynamics. He was awarded adjunct professor appointments at the State University of New York, Oregon State University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria. He also spent considerable time as a visiting scientist at university research laboratories in Australia. He has served as chief scientist on over thirty research ships in various regions of the northeast Pacific. He has authored or co-authored three books and more than 200 peer-reviewed research papers. In 1982, Thomson published an important reference book titled The Oceanography of the British Columbia Coast, which includes an extensive chapter on the Strait of Georgia.

His many awards and citations include the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society prize in Applied Oceanography in 1990, the John P. Tully Medal in 2003 and the Timothy R. Parsons Medal in 2009. Over the course of his career, the federal government honoured him with several Prix d’Excellence and Deputy Minister’s Commendations, as well as several Distinction and Merit awards. In 1995 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2009 a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC.


Paul J. Harrison graduated with a BSc in general science from the University of Toronto and while he originally planned to be a high school teacher, teaching science in foreign countries near the ocean led him to pursue graduate studies in oceanography. While completing his PhD in biological oceanography from the University of Washington, he joined two research cruises to the Peru and northwest African upwelling areas and studied primary productivity and silicate limitation for diatom growth. For almost 30 years, he served as a professor, and is currently a professor emeritus, with the Departments of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and Botany at the University of British Columbia. He has published over 300 papers and three textbooks on the physiology and ecology of phytoplankton and seaweeds. His research has focused on how environmental factors such as nutrients and light influence the growth of the microscopic primary producers (phytoplankton) that supply food for the entire marine food chain. His work has been cited over 16,000 times in scientific publications.

Harrison is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, has won awards for his teaching and international awards for his research. Recently, he received the Parsons Medal for his lifetime achievements in biological oceanography. He has also been a principal investigator on three large multi-disciplinary Canadian programs: JGOFS, GLOBEC and SOLAS. He has assumed leadership roles as the president of the Western Canadian University Marine Biology Society, and the board of directors for the National Research Council and Venus and Neptune Networks.


David L. Mackas earned an MS from the University of Washington in Seattle and a PhD in oceanography from Dalhousie University in Halifax, where he decided to specialize his research on zooplankton. This work led him in 1977 to the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, BC, where he helped pioneer work on marine plankton, a subject that was one of his main scientific interests until he retired in 2013.


Rick M. Harbo has authored a number of publications including Tidepool and Reef (1980), the award-winning Whelks to Whales (2nd Edition 2011), Shells and Shellfish of the Pacific Northwest (1997) and Pacific Reef and Shore (2004). He is passionate about diving, shoreline exploration and photography. His underwater and topside images have appeared in numerous biology textbooks published in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

Since graduating from Simon Fraser University in 1974 with a BSc in biological studies, he has worked diving and surveying invasive plants in the Okanagan lakes, and as a marine biologist for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. He took an interest in the regulation and management of fisheries and was one of the first managers of commercial dive fisheries for geoduck, horse clam, sea urchin, sea cucumber, octopus, scallop and abalone. He has served on scientific review committees, including the Molluscs Specialist Subcommittee of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), and on abalone, sea otter and other recovery teams. He was an expert witness in several court cases, providing biological information related to fisheries regulation. After 36 years with the department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Harbo retired and his efforts are now directed toward “citizen science” and volunteering as a research associate in invertebrate zoology at the Royal BC Museum.


Richard J. Beamish has a PhD in zoology from the University of Toronto. He has worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg and at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, BC, where he served as director from 1980 to 1993. He has served as a commissioner and board member with a number of research organizations and his many international awards include sharing the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 as a member of the International Panel on Climate Change. He received the Order of Canada in 1999 and the Order of British Columbia in 2004. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and has an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Vancouver Island University. Beamish retired officially in 2011, though he maintains an office and remains unofficially on the job.


Andrew W. Trites is a professor and director of the Marine Mammal Research Unit at the University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Centre. He is also a research associate at the Vancouver Aquarium, a member of the Marine Mammal Specialist Group for the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and a member of the PICES Advisory Panel on Marine Birds and Mammals.

He has been studying marine mammals in the North Pacific for over 30 years and has published over 200 papers on the subject. Most of his research is focused on pinnipeds (Steller sea lions, northern fur seals and harbour seals), and involves captive studies, field studies and simulation modelling. His research program spans the fields of nutrition, ecology, physiology, behaviour, anthropology and oceanography—and is designed to further the conservation and understanding of marine mammals, and resolve conflicts between people and marine mammals.

Trites teaches Science Communication to undergraduates at UBC, has co-taught a biennial course on marine mammals at the Bamfield Marine Station and hosts the annual BC Marine Mammal Symposium.


Douglas F. Bertram graduated from the University of Victoria in 1984 with a BSc in biology. Since then, he has studied birds in Borneo and the Philippines, though most of his work has been with remote seabird colonies in British Columbia and conducting research at marine labs at Bamfield, BC, and New Brunswick and Washington State. He earned a MSc in seabird biology at Simon Fraser University, a PhD in marine fish ecology at McGill University and a Post Doctoral Fellowship on marine invertebrate larval ecology at the University of Washington. He returned to marine birds in 1996 as a research associate with the chair in Wildlife Ecology at Simon Fraser University. He has led the seabird research and monitoring program on Triangle Island, BC’s largest seabird colony, as well as research in Desolation Sound on marbled murrelets nesting in old-growth forests. He co-taught the marine bird course at Bamfield Marine Station in 1998 and 2001. In 2002 Bertram took on a full-time position with Canadian Wildlife Service as marine bird conservation biologist with the role of chair of the Canadian Marbled Murrelet Recovery Team and became a research scientist in 2009. The position is based at the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney, BC.


Terry Glavin says that as long as he can remember, he has been fascinated by the history of the ancient maritime cultures of the Strait of Georgia. In his childhood wanderings, there were mysteries in the landscape that were not adequately explained by any of the grownups he pestered with questions. This led him to his vocation as a journalist, a trade that allowed him the excuse he needed to ask innumerable questions to First Nations elders, historians, fisheries biologists, ecologists, archeologists, anthropologists and others.

After several years at New Westminster’s now-extinct Columbian newspaper, he spent a decade at the Vancouver Sun, much of the time as that paper’s fisheries and aboriginal affairs reporter. He has picked up about a dozen writing and journalism awards since then, including a clutch of prizes for science writing. He has worked closely with aboriginal people and their governments and organizations, including the Native Council of Canada, the Lower Fraser Fisheries Authority and the Sto:lo Fisheries Authority, the treaty office of the Katzie First Nation and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, among others. He was an analyst for the BC Treaty Commission in its early days, and a founding member of the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, and he brought his habit of pursuing obscure fisheries research projects to various undertakings for the David Suzuki Foundation, the Sierra Club of BC, Watershed Watch, Ecotrust and other conserva-tion-sector groups.

Glavin has also written a number of books dealing with aboriginal and fisheries issues. His most recent book is The Sturgeon Reach: Shifting Currents at the Heart of the Fraser (2012), which he co-authored with Ben Parfitt.


Stewart J. Muir is the founding executive director of the Resource Works Society, an economic research and literacy organization based in Vancouver. He was business manager of the Canwest News Service in Ottawa and founding managing director in Toronto of Pagemasters North America. From 2006 to 2014 he was a director of The Nature Trust of British Columbia. In 2011 after the Vancouver Stanley Cup riot, he was lead editor, writer and communications consultant for a public review of the incident. He has a master’s degree in history from the University of British Columbia and held a graduate fellowship at the Centre for the Study of European Expansion at Leiden University in The Netherlands, where he pursued studies in environmental history. He studied Chinese business history and organization, and computing science, at the University of Queensland in Australia. During an award-winning three-decade journalism career, he worked in rural British Columbia and Alberta and was business editor as well as deputy managing editor of the Vancouver Sun. He won the prestigious Harry Brittain Fellowship in 2000 and served at The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh. He held roles as a writer and editor at publications in Hong Kong and Australia. Muir more recently has authored multi-part series in the Vancouver Sun examining previously unknown episodes in British Columbia history.


Gordon A. McFarlane started his career with Fisheries and Oceans Canada at the Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he examined the impacts of atmospheric fallout (heavy metals, acid rain) from mining activities on the ecology of northern lakes. A few years later, he transferred to the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo where he conducted research for the next 30 years. His research centred on determining and refining biological parameters used in stock assessments; examining climatic and oceanic factors influencing the dynamics of marine fish; and the physical, biological and fisheries oceanographic linkages of large marine ecosystems, including the Strait of Georgia. He was head of the Groundfish Research Section from 1985 to1991 at the Pacific Biological Station and the Marine Fish Population Dynamics Section from 1992 to 2000. For many years he was a member and advisor to numerous international negotiating teams. He also participated in the development and conduct of a number of international research programs. He has authored more than 200 publications concerning the biology and assessment of marine resources. Today McFarlane continues to work as a scientist emeritus with an interest in ecosystem assessment and management.


Jacquelynne R. King obtained her PhD from the University of Toronto and now works as a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo. Her role includes fisheries stock assessment, which involves assessing the status of fish stocks and providing advice on how to manage and conserve them. That work focuses on the impacts of climatic and oceanographic variability on marine fish population dynamics and the implications for fisheries management. She is currently responsible for the assessment and research of chondrichthyans, including spiny dogfish, big skate and longnose skate.


About the Publisher

Harbour PublishingA History

Harbour Publishing is an award-winning independent book publisher owned and operated by Howard and Mary White.

The company was established in 1974 and is based on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. Harbour is well known for Raincoast Chronicles, a series of anthologies on BC coast history and culture, of which twenty have now been produced. Harbour is also the publisher of over five hundred titles in various genres, including The Encyclopedia of British Columbia; the bestselling Fishing With John by Edith Iglauer; Governor General’s Award-winning The Fly in Autumn by David Zieroth; and many other prize-winning books, including The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names: A Complete Reference to Coastal British Columbia, Simon Fraser: In Search of Modern British Columbia,A Stain Upon the Sea: West Coast Salmon Farming,Birds of the Raincoast: Habits & Habitat and The Great Bear Rainforest: Canada’s Forgotten Coast.

Other well-known Harbour authors are Patrick Lane, one of Canada’s pre-eminent poets;Arthur Black, beloved humorist and author of Pitch Black, which won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour; Carolyn Herriot, organic gardening guru and author of the national bestseller The Zero-Mile Diet: A Year-Round Guide to Growing Organic Food;Mike McCardell, whose bestselling books have raised over $65,000 for Variety—The Children’s Charity of BC; Anne Cameron, the bestselling novelist; Meg Hickling, children’s book author; the late Al Purdy, recipient of the Governor General’s Award and member of the Order of Canada; and Chris Czajkowski, Canada’s favourite wilderness dweller.

The Canadian Historical Association has cited publisher Howard White as “a tireless promoter and creator of quality British Columbia regional history,” recognizing that Harbour Publishing “has nurtured and brought into being a remarkable range of works that capture the essence of British Columbia.”

White is also an award-winning writer of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, articles and essays. His book Writing in the Rain won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, and he has also been awarded a Canadian Media Club Prize, the Eaton’s BC Book Award, the Canadian Historical Society Career Award and the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize, among others. He is a member of the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada, and in 2003 received an honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Victoria.