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Bowen Island’s Bob Turner video filmed in February of the Orcas in Howe Sound has led to a surprise identification of  the threatened Northern Resident Killer Whales in our Howe Sound waters.  This is the first time they have been positively ID’d in Howe Sound according to Jessica Torode Coordinator at the BC Cetaceans’ Network, Vancouver Aquarium.

“They are a matriline known as the A42s.  They were seen this summer in Johnstone Strait before spending time near Powell River and then heading further south to Howe Sound.  They were also seen near Sechelt last winter.  While Howe Sound is mostly frequented by Bigg’s (transient) killer whales, Howe Sound is within the documented range of Northern Residents (page 5 of the Government’s recovery strategy). However, since the BC Cetaceans’ Sightings Network relies on opportunistic sightings from members of the public, we are not always able to tell which population the whales belong to (we would require high-resolution photos of the whale’s dorsal fin and saddle patch to confirm the individual ID).”   

Meanwhile, under the water off the south point of Gambier Island, divers Adam Taylor captured this film footage of Glass Sponge Reefs thought to have gone extinct 40 million years ago. After being rediscovered in the late 1980`s off the coast of BC at least thirteen of these reefs have been identified in Howe Sound.  One of these reefs is located adjacent to Halkett Pinnacle off Gambier Island and is within recreational scuba diving depths.

In October the Underwater Council of BC hosted a group of divers consisting of seven instructors from three different shops, a research scientist and some of the regular citizen science team.   The purpose of the day was to introduce dive community members to the site, and seek input on the proposed management & conservation plan.     Surface photos courtesy of Glen Dennison.


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