Welcome to the San Juan County MSA

Our location in the Salish Sea at the crossroads, or perhaps more properly, crosswaters, of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Strait of Georgia and Puget Sound provides food-rich waters with the capacity to support abundant marine life.

In 2004, the San Juan County Commisioners designated the entire county a marine stewardship area. We have over 400 miles of shoreline and only 175 square miles of land spread over an island chain with between 420 and 700 islands, reefs and rocks depending on the level of the tide. These waters and shorelines are home to six species of salmon, orcas, Dall's porpoise, Steller's sea lions, river and sea otters, lingcod, several species of rockfish and over 100 species of marine birds. Twenty two varieties of endangered Chinok salmon use the San JUans in varius life cycle stage. Two valuable habitats that provide food and shelter for several kinds of marine life are found throughout the San Juans. Eelgrass grows along 140 miles of our shoreline and one third of the bull kelp in Puget Sound is found here.

 The Marine Stewardship Area Plan

The San Juan Marine Stewardship Area resulted from the vision of dozens of local community leaders working together to create a plan which would sustain our use and enjoyment of local marine resources based on the best availalbe science. In 2007, the county adopted a plan representing three years of effort by the Marine Resources Committee and local fishers, community members, businesseslocal and regional scientists, technical advisors and local and regional organizations including the UW Friday Harboe Labs, the SeaDoc Society, and Nature Conservancy and the Surfrider Foundation. The plan started the process of developing and prioritizing strategies and actions to protect and restore precious marine resources in the San Juan Islands. After extensive public involvement, six top strategies were identified for protecting our MSA.

 San Juan Marine Stewardship Area Plan (2004)

Six Top Strategies for protecting our Marine Stewardship Area