About Us


“Making the world a better place, one no-take marine protected sanctuary at a time”

Support our Marine Life Sanctuaries Society:

The Pacific Marine Life Sanctuaries Society became a registered charitable organization in 1990, but was renamed the Marine Life Sanctuaries Society (MLSS) in 1993. That same year, Bernard Hanby, one of the founders of the society, wrote an article entitled, An Idea Whose Time Has Come wherein he identified the long-overdue justification for marine reserves (read article here). Since 1985 the idea of forming a society had been buoyed around by long time dive partners, Andy Lamb and Bernard Hanby, authours of the popular encyclopedic book  Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest (2005). Throughout thousands of dives on the Central Coast of BC over a period of 25 years, they had observed a significant decline in populations of inshore rockfish species that were formally abundant.

Coincidentally, they noticed a major increase in the targeting of live rockfish species by commercial interests and increased sport-fishing pressure. They decided it was time to take action and establishing marine sanctuaries was deemed a promising approach.

Since its initiation, MLSS has been working to achieve greater protection of our coastal waters through the creation of sanctuaries where absolutely no extraction of life, or mineral, is permitted within a marine protected area (MPA). After decades of lobbying by not-for-profit organizations and with much talk little has been done, accounting for < 0.5% of protected areas off the coast of Canada, until now.

New Marine Protected Areas established by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) in 2017, a meager 3.64% of our marine coastal areas is protected. After 16 years, an Oceans Act MPA for Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound glass sponge reef ecosystems have finally been established. Several other locations in the Strait of Georgia and Howe Sound are in the consultation process with the hopes that they too will be protected under DFO’s goal to achieve 10% protected marine and coastal areas by 2020.

MLSS knows that the best methodology to help the ocean creatures to survive and return to health lies in full no-take marine sanctuaries. 9/10’s of the world’s big fish are gone, yet few people are aware of this.

Our Vision:   MLSS will create an environment that is conducive to educating, inspiring and engaging the individuals and communities to support the creation of marine protected areas (or sanctuaries).

Our Mission:  Making the world a better place, one No-Take Marine Protected Area (MPA) sanctuary at a time.

Our Pledge:  Being a member of MLSS means that you, as a member and marine steward, will voluntarily refrain from extracting any marine organism out of RCAs, MCAs, NMCAs, and other marine reserves.

More information:

Board of Directors & Committee Chairs

Marine Life Sanctuaries

Our Sponsors

Contact Us