Described as “living fossils”, these 3000-year-old reefs are the only sizable glass sponge reefs left on earth!
First discovered in 1987, glass sponge reefs were thought to have gone extinct with the dinosaurs some 40 million years ago. Glass sponge reefs are found nowhere else in the world outside BC waters, and have been growing on the Hecate Strait seafloor for over 3000 years. They provide important deep sea habitat for a variety of species and are extremely vulnerable to damage from trawlers, long lines and prawn traps. The area was closed to groundfish trawling in 2002 and the site was announced as an Oceans Act MPA area of interest in 2010. Since then CPAWS participated in stakeholder consultations and the development of draft regulations and management plan. The management plan will allow for some fishing activities above the reefs and hopefully protect them from indirect impacts from sea-floor fishing through sedimentation.15