Protecting Glass Sponge Reefs
Glass sponge reefs covering 1,000 sq km of sea floor were first discovered in B.C.’s Hecate Strait in the late 1980s. Over a decade later more glass sponge reefs were discovered, this time on the seafloor in parts of the Strait of Georgia; just off the Sunshine Coast, West Vancouver and the southern Gulf Islands. Thought to have been extinct for millions of years, the reefs are thousands of years old. B.C.’s coast is home to the only living glass sponge reefs of this size anywhere on Earth.
See videos of the reefs:
- Glass Sponge Reefs: The Basics
- Defense Whips documents a deep water dive in Howe Sound, featuring unique cloud sponges
- Glass sponge bioherm and garden
- Cradles of Glass Teaser is a Wild In Blue pre-production of a documentary focusing on the fragile glass sponges of British Columbia
- Dr. Manfred Krautter, paleobiologist, and professor at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, delivered a talk on Glass Sponge Reefs in October 2013
The North McCall Bank glass sponge reefs are just off the shore of Sechelt at depths ranging from 90 to 210 meters with heights of 6 meters and have a foot print of about 180 hectares spread over an area of some 4 square kilometres.
Glass sponge reefs provide a crucial refuge for a variety of marine species, including juvenile rockfish, and form the basis of an ecosystem that extends well beyond the reefs themselves. Refuges such as these are especially important in regions of high human use, such as the Strait of Georgia. The health of the reefs is an indicator of the health of our oceans, and is ultimately connected to our quality of life.
These fragile reefs are easily damaged and while the northern reefs in the Hecate Strait have some protection the reefs in the Strait of Georgia remain threatened.
Please sign this petition asking the federal government to help protect the glass sponge reefs.