Glass sponge. Photo © NOAA

More than 500 species of glass sponge exist. Only some of them have the fused-glass skeletons that lead to the creation of reefs such as those found off B.C.’s coast. Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition

In recent decades, species of sponges thought to have gone extinct 100 million years ago have been found in B.C.’s coastal waters. They not only make these waters home, but they make homes for themselves and many other creatures.

Now the federal government is moving to safeguard these rare organisms and the unique underwater ecosystems they have created. In early June, Fisheries and Oceans Canada closed B.C’s glass-sponge reefs to all fishing.

In addition, proposed, new marine protected areas will prohibit all seafloor-disturbing activities on and immediately around three glass-sponge reefs in Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound.  The protection focuses on the reefs and small buffer zones, with various activities allowed beyond and in the water column above….

Read the rest of this editorial at the Victoria Times Colonist….

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