New protection of Canada's ‘Sea of Glass' bans fishing near the reefs

| 20th February 2017
These ancient reefs, discovered off Canada's Northwest coast only 30 years ago, are the only large-form, living examples of their type in the world. Picture credit: Sally Leys
The last living remains of an ancient European species - the 9,000-year-old fragile glass sponge reefs off the coast of Canada - will now be offered further protection
The new designation bans destructive fishing activity near the reef structures following pressure from the Canadian public and marine scientists around the world

The Canadian government has increased protection for fragile 9,000 year-old glass sponge reefs to prevent their destruction by fishing trawlers.

The ancient reefs, which were discovered off the country's Northwest coast only 30 years ago, are the only large-form, living examples of their type in the world. The reefs reach the height of an 8-storey building in parts and cover 1,000 km2 of ocean floor.  

Fossilized remains of the whole reef system today form giant cliffs that stretch across much of the European mainland from Russia, through Germany, France and all the way to Portugal.

The reefs were discovered in 1987 by a team of Canadian scientists surveying the seafloor in Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound, off the North coast of British Columbia.

The new designation bans destructive fishing activity near the reef structures following pressure from the Canadian public and marine scientists around the world. Scientists estimate that about 50 per cent of the glass sponge reefs have already been destroyed by bottom trawlers and other heavy fishing gear.

www.glassspongereefs.com

 

Donate

The Ecologist has a formidable reputation built on fifty years of investigative journalism and compelling commentary from writers across the world. Now, as we face the compound crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity collapse and social injustice, the need for rigorous, trusted and ethical journalism has never been greater. This is the moment to consolidate, connect and rise to meet the challenges of our changing world. The Ecologist is owned and published by the Resurgence Trust. Support The Resurgence Trust from as little as £1. Thank you. Donate here