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Conservation groups welcome protection for Strait of Georgia’s unique glass sponge reefs

Vancouver BC – 5 June 2015 – Local and national conservation groups are welcoming today’s announcement by the federal government of fishing closures for the Strait of Georgia’s glass sponge reefs – a global treasure found nowhere else in the world.

The SCCA has joined in efforts over the past six years with a coalition of conservation groups lead by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society to convince Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to protect these reefs.  “They are a global treasure found no-where else in the world. The reefs are thousands of years old and they are incredibly fragile,” said Sabine Jessen, National Oceans Program Director at CPAWS.

The fishing closures will prohibit all bottom contact fishing over the reefs themselves and 150 metre wide buffer around them, to ensure that the reefs are not accidentally damaged by fishing gear and to protect them from sedimentation. DFO established voluntary closures last year in order to protect the reefs while consultation was underway. The closures come after months of consultation and discussions among DFO, the conservation groups, the commercial and recreational fishing sectors, and First Nations. The conservation sector was represented by CPAWS, David Suzuki Foundation, Marine Life Sanctuaries Society, Sunshine Coast Conservation Association, and the Vancouver Aquarium.

Read the full press release here.

Glass Sponge Reefs map.

Pictures:  Texada glass sponge.   GSR:  Dr. Sally Leys credit.  Trawling damage to reef: Jackson Chu credit.  Dr. Sally Leys in CPAWS sub:  Bruce Kirkby credit.  GSR: Neil McDaniel credit.  Diver & Reef: Neil McDaniel credit.