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Scientists, divers, stewards, prawn fishermen and citizens gathered in West Vancouver on Wednesday March 6th, 2019 to hear Minister for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announce the establishment of eight marine refuges in Howe Sound to protect nine newly discovered glass sponge reefs. This brings the total to 11 reef areas now protected.

Congratulations go to the Marine Life Sanctuaries Society, under the leadership of Glen Dennison,  discovered, mapped and documented, initiating contact with Fisheries and Oceans Canada regarding their ecosystem value and need for protection. Many more people and organizations are also to be credited for their contribution.

The formal fishery closures are effective April 1, 2019 and include a protective buffer of 150 metres surrounding the reef footprints. All commercial, recreational and First Nations Food, Social and Ceremonial bottom contact fishing activities – prawn and crab by trap, shrimp and groundfish by trawl, and groundfish by hook and line will be prohibited within portions of Subareas 28-2 and 28-4 to protect the nine reefs, as marine refuges. Use of downrigger gear in recreational salmon trolling will also be prohibited via a Condition of Licence and in effect for the 2019 recreational fishing season. Learn more here about the announcement and more about the fishing closures here.

This announcement is an example of how when a community committed to the conservation and stewardship of Howe Sound for current and future generations can succeed. Enjoy this Cradles of Glass film by Roy Mulder.

Map from Fisheries & Oceans Canada. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/oceans/ceccsr-cerceef/closures-fermetures-eng.html
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