NorthCoast's Regional Information Site

The Prince Rupert Harbour Complex

(from perspective of Salmon Farming report)

For a newspaper article written by me on this MAFF book, see here

Note: the maps below are crude, for better see image end of page for LandSat

Deep and Polluted

Often the hype calls PR harbour world’s largest or deepest or some such mega attribution, seldom is it ever mentioned how polluted the harbour is -------------Unfortunately it will soon become one of the largest polluted harbours in the world unless some concrete action is taken to reduce the number of effluent diffusers, both registered and illegal, that empty into its waterway system. The condition is exacerbated by an unusually high percentage of its foreshore being used for log storage purposes. (MAFF 1992)

Very Complex System

The numerous sills, erratic inflow of Skeena River water, and the extreme tidal range, make this system a very complex one to study and the oceanography of its water properties are correspondingly difficult to predict . (MAFF 1992)

A Closer Look at Physical Oceanography of basins

Prince Rupert Harbour, one of the largest in the world, is a complex of channels separated by shallow sills that surround Digby, Ridley and Kaien Islands. A main channel with several deeper sills carries through to a shallow "silled-off" fjord at Tuck Inlet.

Source textual material:  Biophysical Suitability of the North Coast and Queen Charlotte Islands Regions of British Columbia for Salmonid Farming in Net Cages  MAFF (1992)

Maximum water depths in this complex are as follows

  • Tuck Inlet (80 m, with entrance sill of 10.5 m)
  • Upper Harbour (60 m, with entrance sill of 45 m)
  • Fern Passage (29 m, with entrance sills of 7 and 2.1 m)
  • Morse Basin (57 m, silled off)
  • Kloiya Bay (23.5 m), Denise Inlet (39 m)
  • Wainwright Basin (5.7 m, with sills of 3.7, 9.1 and 0.9 m)
  • Porpoise Harbour (25 m)
  • Porpoise Channel (51 m across Flora Bank, 20 m outside sill)
  • Prince Rupert Main Harbour
    (91 m, with 3 entrance sills -each 38 m)
  • Venn Passage around the north end of Digby Island (22 m with several broad sills of 4.9, 3, 6.4 and 6.1 m)


.(Disclaimer: I have merely reworked the MAFF 1992 material and added some textual emphasis or commentary plus the images)--- Presumable this is the same document listed on BC Site or see this site.

A Closer Look at Biology of the basins

For the time being will leave this blank as though we might know much about some components; this tends to be left in the ‘grey literature’ where hard to access and synthesize.


See other pages this site on Harbour

Morse Basin

Butze Mountains to Denise Arm—see cirques


Mount Morse across harbour


Mission Mtn with McNichol Crk Tsimshian dig site


Small Business FDP with geography area

Full system

But see the page on sensitive harbour habitats, which will act as a starting point

Skeena Estuary

I will deal with estuary separately but here is a page on Small Business FDP which illustrates geography area



Sea, land, river








Coming soon