|Image by Diane Reid
NatureKids BC applauds the federal government for taking important steps to protect Canada's rare glass sponge reefs off the B.C. coast through the restriction of commercial fishing in the area.
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dominic LeBlanc, announced earlier today the federal government's intentions of establishing a 2,410-square-kilometre marine conservation area, comprising three sites between Vancouver Island and the archipelago of Haida Gwaii.
NatureKids BC reported on glass sponge reefs in its spring 2016 issue of NatureWILD (click to read the article).
Glass sponge reef is one of the strangest life forms on the planet and grows deep in the chilly coastal waters of British Columbia, as the only place in the world. They can reach 14 metres in height and cover a square kilometre, providing important habitat to a wide range of marine animals including endangered rockfish. However they are very sensitive to disturbances such as commercial fishing.
Scientists had long thought that reef-forming glass sponges went extinct during the age of the dinosaurs, but then in 1987, 9,000 year old glass sponge reefs were found in the very deep water in the Hectate Strait, and they have later been discovered in the Southern Straight of Georgia.