Marine Life Sanctuaries Society (MLSS BC) President, Glen Dennison, along with volunteer divers Greg McCracken and Tori Preddy, recently went back to check on one of the rare glass sponge reefs in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound, and invited CBC News reporter, Susana da Silva, along to bring attention to these rare and endangered bioherms under threat of destruction from continued bottom-fishing and other prohibited activities.
Despite bottom fishing closures enacted by DFO over the past few years, the fragile and globally unique Glass Sponge Reefs are still being fished regularly resulting in significant and likely irreversible damage.
Many months of outreach efforts with DFO regarding lack of enforcement resources, and attempts to discuss with Fisheries Minister have yet to result in a meaningful response.
These types of reefs were thought to have gone extinct after being present in the fossil record dating back hundreds of millions of years. They co-existed with the dinosaurs and have survived two global-level extinction events.
The last remnants on the planet are off the West Coast, but the past 100+ years of bottom contact fishing and other human activities have nearly destroyed them. We are hopeful that some public pressure will help resolve these issues.
Click here for Susana da Silva’s article.