Help to fully protect BC'S ancient glass sponge reefs
CPAWS has been working to protect BC’s globally unique glass sponge reefs since 2001. In 2015 Fisheries and Oceans Canada finally released the draft regulations for the proposed Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound glass sponge reef Marine Protected Area (MPA) for public comment.
Unfortunately the draft regulations allow harmful activities to continue within the MPA. These activities include bottom trawl, mid-water trawl, and prawn and crab trap fisheries, as well as anchoring and the laying of underwater cables. Even the slightest physical contact from any of these activities could crush the fragile sponges, and sediment plumes created by dragging fishing gear, anchors or cables across the seabed could smother and choke the reefs.
Although we are glad that the Hecate Strait glass sponge reef MPA is so close to completion we are deeply concerned that the proposed regulations will not provide adequate protection for the glass sponge reefs.
In addition to the glass sponge reefs in Hecate Strait there are also glass sponge reefs in the Strait of Georgia that are currently protected by fishing closures but are still at risk from damage by anchors and underwater cables. Newly discovered reefs in Howe Sound and Chatham Sound currently have no protection at all.
BC’s glass sponge reefs are relatively small but incredibly important and exceptionally rare ecosystems.
If we do not fully protect them now we are at risk of losing them again, this time forever.
For more information about glass sponge reefs, why they are important and what CPAWS is doing to protect them, click here.
Please ask the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coastguard to fully protect BC’s ancient and unique glass sponge reefs.
Your message will be sent to: Minister of Fisheries and Oceans