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Glass Sponge reef discoveries in Howe Sound are making international news and attracting scientific researchers.

In October 2017, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada announced to the Howe Sound Community Forum it had verified the locations of reefs ocean explorer and citizen scientist Glen Dennison  personally discovered with support from Marine Life Sanctuaries Society.  There are 16 known sponge reefs in Howe Sound, Glen discovered 10 of those.   In response to Canada’s commitment to the 2006 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Res. 61/105 (2006) : Sustainable Fisheries Resolution, Canada is taking “action immediately, individually and through regional fisheries management organizations, consistent with the precautionary approach, to sustainably manage fish stocks and protect vulnerable marine ecosystems including seamounts, hydrothermal vents and cold water corals and sponge from destructive fishing practices.”   DFO is seeking to add 13 more reefs in Howe Sound to the current two in Howe Sound and seven more reef closures in the Strait of Georgia.   A letter from DFO has recently been sent to First Nations and stakeholders requesting Voluntary Avoidance of the 13 new sites as a precautionary measure.  Consultations for this process are anticipated for the winter of 2017-18.

What can we do?  Inform the public and recreational fishers about the importance of the sponge reefs to the ecosystem.   Damage to the reefs ultimately impacts the sustainability of spot prawns and many other species of sea animals fishes, crabs, shrimps, annelid worms, octopuses and sea stars.    Learn where these closures are in relation to where you like to drop your traps in Howe Sound and take action to avoid these locations.  You can also donate to the Marine Life Sanctuaries Society in order to continue their work protecting these Sponge Reefs.

 

 

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