Animals in Northwest Pacific



Below you can find a complete list of Northwest Pacific Ocean animals. We currently track 125 animals in Northwest Pacific and are adding more every day!

The Northwest Pacific Basin is a region of the Pacific Ocean. To its west is the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench, which links Russia, Korea, and Japan; to its east is the Emperor Seamount Chain, an underwater mountain range that reaches Hawaii. Its southern border is near the Hawaiian islands of Necker Island and Marcus Island. It is one of the ocean regions where cyclones and typhoons form.

Its primary seas include:

  • Sea of Okhotsk
  • Kamchatka Shelf
  • Bering Sea
  • Northern Honshu
  • Sea of Japan
  • Yellow Sea
  • East China Sea

Some of the chief islands of the Northwest Pacific are:

  • Aleutian Islands
  • Puget Sound
  • Kuril Islands
  • Japanese Islands
  • Vancouver Island

The Northwest Pacific’s range includes tropical islands, but the water in its northern regions is cold. Fish that thrive in these cold waters include the Pacific halibut, salmon of all varieties, and gold country pollock. There are 13 whale species native to the Northwest Pacific.

Its marine life includes gray whales, humpback whales, blue whales, minke whales, and sperm whales. The waters are home to killer whales, bottlenose dolphins, and Pacific white-sided dolphins. Porpoises include the Ball’s porpoise and harbor porpoise.

Its waters are important fishing grounds for mackerels, tunas, shrimps, sardines, milkfish, sea breams, croakers, and seaweed.

One of the most important fish of the North Pacific is the herring. Like sardines and anchovies, herrings are forage fish. They are a vital food source for a huge number of larger fish and endangered marine mammals. Salmons, porpoises, seals, and other animals swarm the waters during herring spawning seasons.

Unfortunately, herring populations have dropped in recent years. Conservation groups along the Northern Pacific coastline are working to restore the population of these critical fish.

Millions of seabirds make their home on the coastlines of the Pacific Northwest. These include auklets, puffins, fulmars, terns, and almost all of the world’s 250,000 red-legged kittiwakes (Rissa brevirostris).

What Is the National Animal of the Northwest Pacific?

As an ocean, the Pacific Northwest is not a country and does not have its own national animal. Listed are the national animals of some countries with coasts on the Northwest Pacific.

Where To Find the Top Wild Animals in the Northwest Pacific

With many whale species, the Pacific Northwest is an ideal place for whale-watching tours. Along the Pacific coastline in North America, there are more than 100 whale watching sites that are part of the Whale Trail Project. Key spots include Sea Lion Caves in Oregon, Cape Flattery in Washington, and Lighthouse Park in British Columbia.

Aside from whales and porpoises, you can spot California sea lions, harbor seals and sea otters.

Fishing and charter boat trips provide an opportunity to visit the many islands of the Pacific Northwest. These islands are feeding grounds for seals, birds, dolphins, otters, and sea turtles.

The islands of the Pacific Northwest are scenic and wooded. They are home to large mammals like wolves, bears and cougars. Camping, fishing, and sightseeing trips to these islands are a great opportunity to see the wildlife and marine life of this region.

The Most Dangerous Animals in the Northwest Pacific Ocean Today

The most dangerous animal is the killer whale or orca. An apex predator in any environment, the killer whale lives everywhere except the Arctic Ocean.

Killer whales feed on whatever is available, including fish, seals, dolphins, and other whales. Wild killer whales are not dangerous to humans. There are no recorded attacks of killer whales on people.

Extinct and Endangered Animals of the Northwest Pacific

The following animals are in danger of becoming extinct:

Unique Marine Life

The Northwest Pacific Ocean is home to a rich variety of marine life, and its islands and coastlines are excellent places to see its native wildlife. Sea otters, puffins, and dolphins are among the many cute, unusual creatures you will find here.

Northwest Pacific Ocean Animals

Albacore Tuna

The albacore is a very fast swimmer

Albatross

The largest wingspan of any bird in the world!

Anchovies

November 12th is celebrated as National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day

Angelfish

There are 70 different species!

Anglerfish

The anglerfish has a glowing lure on its head to attract unsuspecting prey

Baleen Whale

“Sings” a whale song during breeding season.

Barnacle

Closely related to crabs and lobsters!

Barracuda

Can grow to nearly 2 meters long!

Barramundi Fish

Scale rings indicate age

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Black Marlin

Every black marlin is born as a female.

Blobfish

One of the ugliest creatures in existence!

Blue-Ringed Octopus

The blue-ringed octopus produces some of the deadliest poison in the world

Blue Shark

Blue sharks can have up to 135 pups at a time.

Blue Whale

The largest animal on Earth

Bluefin Tuna

The bluefin is one of the largest fish in the world

Bonito Fish

May eat squid or other small invertebrate ocean life

Booby

Seabirds found across the South Pacific!

Bottlenose Dolphin

Stays in groups from 15 to 2,000 in number!'

Bull Shark

Unpredictable and aggressive temperament!

Butterfly Fish

There are more than 100 different species!

Chimaera

Also called ghost shark

Clownfish

Also known as the anemonefish!

Codfish

They eat other fish

Cookiecutter Shark

The cookiecutter shark takes its name because it leaves a cookie-shaped bite hole in its prey.

Coral

There are more than 6000 species of coral in the world's oceans.

Crab

There are 93 different crab groups

Crappie Fish

The crappie is one of the most popular freshwater fish in North America.

Cuttlefish

Found throughout the world's oceans!

Dolphin

Can reach speeds of up to 25 mph!

Drum Fish

The drum fish makes a croaking sound with its swimming bladder!

Dusky Dolphin

Communicates using whistles, squeaks and clicks!

Eel

Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!

Elephant Seal

The largest species of seal in the world!

False Killer Whale

The false killer whale looks like a cross between a dolphin and orca!

Fangtooth

Has the largest teeth compared to body size of any known fish

Fin Whale

Found throughout ocean waters worldwide!

Fish

Respire through the gills on their heads!

Flounder

A flat fish found in the Atlantic and Pacific!

Fly

There are more than 240,000 different species!

Flying Fish

Can glide in the air for hundreds of feet

Frigatebird

Found inhabiting tropical islands and coasts!

Frogfish

The frogfish can change colors, but it takes several weeks to do so

Fur Seal

Found only in the Northern Hemisphere!

Galapagos Penguin

Found around the Equator!

Galapagos Tortoise

The biggest species of tortoise in the world!

Garden Eel

Garden eel colonies are made up of hundreds to thousands of individuals.

Ghost Crab

Their eyestalks, which are sometimes horned, can swivel 360 degrees

Great White Shark

Can grow to more than 8 meters long!

Hagfish

Can use slime to suffocate marine predators or escape capture

Hammerhead Shark

Found in coastal waters around the world!

Harbor Seal

Harbor seals can dive as deep as 1400 feet

Hardhead Catfish

The hardhead catfish has a sharp spine near its fin to inject venom

Hermit Crab

There are over 500 different species!

Herring

People enjoy the taste of the oily fish in many different ways including pickled, smoked, salted, dried and fermented.

Horn Shark

Endemic to the Californian coast!

Horseshoe Crab

Changed little in over 500 million years!

Humboldt Squid

The Humboldt squid can change colors to communicate

Humpback Whale

There are thought to be 80,000 left in the wild!

Immortal Jellyfish

Excellent hitchhiker on long-trip cargo ships

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Jellyfish

Have tentacles around their mouths!

Killer Whale

Typically consumes over 200 kg of food a day!

King Crab

Can have a leg span of nearly 2 meters!

Krill

The krill is perhaps the most important animal in the marine ecosystem!

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish

Though it’s a huge animal, the lifespan of the lion’s mane jellyfish is only a year.

Lobster

Have been known to reach 100 years old!

Man of War Jellyfish

Named for an 18th century warship

Manta Ray

Can grow up to 9m wide!

Megamouth Shark

Swims with its mouth open to capture prey

Minke Whale

There are two recognised species!

Moray Eel

Can grow to nearly 2 meters in length!

Northern Fur Seal

Dense underfur means they don’t need blubber to stay warm

Nurse Shark

Commonly found in Central American waters!

Octopus

There are around 300 different species!

Oyster

Can process up to 10 litres of water an hour!

Penguin

Spends 75% of it's time hunting for food!

Porpoise

Surprisingly, not a dolphin!

Prawn

Closely related to crabs and lobsters!

Pufferfish

The second most poisonous creature in the world!

Reef Shark

Grey reef sharks can give birth without males

Rock Crab

Males will fight each other to get to females.

Rockfish

These fish can grow up to three feet long!

Salmon Shark

Salmon sharks are related to Great Whites.

Sand Tiger Shark

The sand tiger is the shark most commonly seen in aquariums.

Sardines

Schools of sardines can be miles long and are often visible from an airplane

Sawfish

Sawfish teeth keep growing as the fish gets older

Sea Anemone

Creatures have characteristics of both animal and plant

Sea Eagle

The sea eagle tends to mate for life with a single partner

Sea Lion

It's flippers allow it to walk on the land

Sea Otter

Eats over 40 different marine species!

Sea Slug

All sea slugs have both male and female sex organs

Sea Squirt

There are more than 3,000 known species!

Sea Turtle

Always return to the same beach to lay eggs!

Sea Urchin

Can live for up to 200 years!

Seahorse

Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Seal

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Sei Whale

This whale is one of the fastest of the cetaceans

Shark

No shark species has any bones in their bodies

Shrimp

There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Sixgill shark

The sixgill shark has six pairs of gills instead of the normal five

Skipjack Tuna

The skipjack is the most commonly caught tuna in the world

Sleeper Shark

The Greenland shark is one of the longest living vertebrates in the world.

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Sperm Whale

Each tooth weighs 1kg!

Spinner Shark

Can have up to 20 babies

Spiny Dogfish

Found in ocean waters worldwide!

Sponge

There are more than 9,000 known species!

Squid

Some species are known to have 10 arms!

Starfish

Has 2 stomachs to aid digestion!

Stingray

It's stinger is razor-sharp or serrated!

Sturgeon

Large species can swallow whole salmon

Tang

Found around shallow coral reefs!

Tarpon

Its genus dates back to the Cretaceous period – 113 million years ago

Toadfish

Can be heard out of water

Tropicbird

Nests on tropical islands and cliffs!

Tuna

The tuna has a sleek body that enables it to swim quickly through the water

Turtles

Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.

Whale Shark

The largest species of fish in the world!

Wolf Eel

Wolf Eels may become tame and interact with human in areas where people frequently dive.

Wrasse

There are more than 500 different species!

Yellowfin Tuna

The yellowfin forms schools with other tuna species

Yeti Crab

The yeti crab has hairy arms, which collect bacteria to feed on

Northwest Pacific Ocean Animals List

Animals in Northwest Pacific FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What Unique Animals Live in the Northwest Pacific?

One of the Northwest Pacific Ocean’s unique animals is the crested puffin or tufted puffin (Fratercula cirrhata). This cute bird sports black and white feathers with an orange beak and a bright yellow crest. In summer, its talons turn red and the feathers on its face turn white.

Otters: The Northwest Pacific Ocean is home to both river otters and sea otters. River otters divide their time between land and sea. They live on shorelines, riverbanks and the banks of streams. River otters are small and slender.

Sea otters are large and plump. They live in the coldest waters of the North Pacific and spend most of their lives in the water. Sea otters fish and breed in the water.

Both otter species were prized for their fur and almost became extinct. Conservation efforts and hunting bans pulled them from the brink of extinction. River otters have made a recovery, but sea otters were slow to recover and are still endangered.

What Sharks Live in the Northwest Pacific Ocean?

  •  Blue sharks live in almost all oceans of the world. They can reach 10 to 12 feet.
  • Salmon sharks are found in the colder waters of British Columbia and Alaska. They feed on birds, salmon, sea otters and small fish.
  • Brown catsharks are small sharks that only reach about two feet. They feed on shrimps, squid and small fish

Does the Northwest Pacific Ocean Have Venomous Sea Snakes?

Its venomous snakes include the California sea snake, also known as the yellow-bellied sea snake, and the banded sea krait.