) is a wide but shallow strait
between the Queen Charlotte Islands
and the mainland of British Columbia
. It merges with Queen Charlotte Sound
to the south and Dixon Entrance
to the north. About wide at its southern end, Hecate Strait narrows in the north to about It is about in length.
According to the BCGNIS, the southern boundary of Hecate Strait is defined as a line running from the southernmost point of Price Island to Cape St James on Kunghit Island, the southernmost point of the Queen Charlotte Islands. The northern boundary is a line from Rose Point, the northeastern tip of Graham Island, to Hooper Point at the north end of Stephens Island off the mainland.
Hecate Strait was named by Captain George Henry Richards in 1861 or 1862 after his surveying vessel, the Hecate.
Hecate Strait, because it is so shallow, is especially susceptible to storms and violent weather. The Haida
crossed the Hecate Strait to the mainland to plunder coastal villages to take slaves and booty. Only the Haida knew the real nature of the Strait's workings, and so could not be followed by the tribes of the mainland. Hecate Strait, therefore, was one of the main defenses of the Haida people from attack.
During the last Ice Age
, the seafloor in this area was a wide coastal plain stretching south to the Olympic Peninsula
and including what is now Queen Charlotte Sound
Flora and Fauna
The strait once contained strong salmon
and halibut fisheries
Hecate Strait is one of the few locations in the world with species from the Glass Sponge class of fauna. Regions with these sponge are currently protected from damage by commercial fishing.