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9 Glass Sponge Reefs in Howe Sound are now protected under 8 new marine refuges of approximately 3.5 square kilometres!

Glass Sponge Reefs

Announced on Tuesday, March 5th by Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and MP Pamela Goldsmith Jones, this permanent protection for the fragile reefs are the result of diligent work by organizations, citizen scientists, the Squamish Nation and other stakeholder groups including fishers. Particular kudos go to Glen Dennison of the Marine Life Sanctuaries Society who discovered, mapped and advocated for the protection of these reefs. Thanks also to volunteer members of our SCCA Marine Committee, including Cindy Harlow, Marina Stjepovic, Angela Kroning and Dianne Sanford, who spend time educating about the importance of Glass Sponge Reefs as well as adding their voices as advocates for the protection of all the reefs within the Salish Sea.

These marine refuges represent formal fishery closures that will come into effect April 1, 2019, and include an area of 150 metres extending beyond the reefs edges. All commercial, recreational and First Nations Food, Social and Ceremonial bottom contact fishing activities, including prawn and crab traps, shrimp and groundfish by trawl, and groundfish by hook and line, will be prohibited within the refuges, as well as the use of downrigger gear in recreational salmon trolling.

An additional 9 reefs are under consideration now for future protection, requiring further ground-truthing to assess their ecological significance. These include 4 reefs close to us here on the Sunshine Coast, in the areas of Mariner's Rest, Camelo Point, Langdale, and Collingwood Channel.

Glass sponge reefs are a true wonder, thought to have been extinct for over 40 million years, but discovered in 1987 to be living in Hecate Strait. Dr. Manfred Krautter, who studies fossilized reefs in Europe has likened the discovery of living reefs akin to finding a herd of dinosaurs living in modern times! They not only provide important deep-sea habitat for many species including rockfish, prawns and sharks, they also are tremendously efficient filter feeders. These 9 newly protected reefs will filter an estimated 17 billion litres of water a day - the equivalent of 6,800 Olympic size swimming pools.

Though we are very pleased that these first 9 reefs are now protected from damaging bottom contact fishing activities, we continue to advocate for the full protection of the 18 mapped reefs from all human activities (such as cable lines, freighter traffic and anchorages) as Marine Protected Areas under the Oceans Act.

You can read more about these precious reefs and the new marine refuges here:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada News Release

Marine Life Sanctuaries Society post

Sea of Glass - Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) 

YOU'RE INVITED to join us for a very special 22nd Anniversary edition of our Celebration of Conservation party, featuring the New Orleans-inspired 9 piece band from Vancouver, the Big Easy Funk Ensemble.

Raise a glass to over two decades of protecting the stunning natural biodiversity of the Sunshine Coast, and get out on the dance floor to build the energy and momentum for another 20 years, at least!

Saturday, February 9th
Roberts Creek Hall
Doors at 7:30 pm, band starts at 9 pm

Come early to mingle, enjoy hors d'oeurves, and hear some exciting conservation news. Stay late to boogie, Mardi Gras-style! Dress up and costumes encouraged!
Door prizes & 50/50 draw at 10 pm.


SCCA MEMBERS: $25* (online purchase only)

Early bird sale until January 26th: $25
Jan 27 - Feb 9: $30

Get your discount by becoming an SCCA member HERE!

Tickets also available at: Strait Music (Sechelt), MELOmania (Roberts Creek), and Laedeli (Gibsons).

Presented by the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association and the Sunshine Coast Jazz and Entertainment Society.

For more information, contact, or 604.865.1633.
To VOLUNTEER, contact

On November 17th, West Coast Environmental Law sent a letter to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO):

"...the water works proposed by the SCRD, which would occur within the Tetrahedron Provincial Park, would be illegal and cannot be legally authorized through a Park Use Permit under the Park Act."

Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Water Authorizations, is the provincial agency that considers new Water License applications. Read the letter here.

This Thursday morning, SCRD Directors will participate in a special Infrastructure Services Committee (ICS) meeting about our Chapman watershed system and the proposed projects to maintain adequate water supply.

You can read the agenda HERE including SCRD staff reports outlining details on the four proposed projects to address water supply issues: water metering, investigating wells, new storage reservoir, and deepening the channel to take more water from Chapman Lake.

The ISC meeting starts at 9:30 'in camera', but will be opened to the public after their initial discussion. This meeting will be followed directly afterward with a special Board meeting to review the report of the ICS committee.

So again, we encourage the community to participate in our democracy and come out in support of a sustainable watershed and water supply system by attending these meetings. We hope we don't have to wait too long for the public portion of the meeting, but we know that getting up-to-date information on our watershed, and showing up to support viable long-term solutions is well worth the wait!

We invite you to join us at the SCRD offices at about 10 am
Thursday, March 1st, 2018.

1975 Field Road, Wilson Creek

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. 


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