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Flatfish is the common name for fish belonging to the order Pleuronectiformes. There are 14 families of flatfish and over 800 species worldwide. In Canadian waters there are approximately 39 species of flatfish, from five families. These families are Pleuronectidae, Bothidae, Paralichthyidae, Scophthalmidae and Cynoglossidae. Familiar flatfishes found in Canada include halibut, plaice, flounder and turbot. Among their distinguishing features, flatfish have both eyes on one side of their body.


Leatherback Sea Turtle

The leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), or simply “leatherback,” is the largest turtle and widest-ranging reptile in the world. It began evolving over 100 million years ago and is the last remaining member of the Dermochelyidae family. It has seven subpopulations worldwide, two of which can be found in Canadian waters.


Right Whale

Right whales are a baleen whale found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. There are three species: the North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica), North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) and southern right whale (Eubalaena australis). In Canadian waters, the North Pacific right whale is rarely sighted, but was historically found along British Columbia’s coast. The North Atlantic right whale is found along the Scotian Shelf and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Both the North Pacific and North Atlantic right whale are listed as endangered under Canada’s Species at Risk Act. (See also Endangered Animals in Canada.)


The Pig War

The “Pig War” of 1859 was a confrontation between the United States and Great Britain over the location of the international border in the San Juan Islands. The conflict began when an American settler killed a pig owned by an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company; it quickly grew to involve British warships and hundreds of troops on both sides. The root of the conflict was an earlier compromise between the two nations that resulted in American and British settlers sharing the disputed islands. Though called a war, it never actually degenerated into an armed conflict, and there were no human casualties. In late 1859, the two sides agreed to a joint military occupation of the islands; this lasted until 1872, when the San Juan Islands became part of US territory.