The process of protecting marine life involves extensive consultation, dialogue, and consensus building amongst the diverse rightsholders and stakeholders who connect with ocean spaces. In Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is responsible for weighing these groups' perspectives and knowledge to achieve a conservation outcome that protects marine ecosystems without substantially compromising social, cultural, or economic values.
In January 2021, DFO hosted a stakeholder workshop to discuss protection options for glass sponge reefs in Howe Sound/Átl'ka7tsem (one of three Squamish Nation place names for the deep water fjord adjacent to Vancouver). In advance of this workshop, I prepared this short 5-minute video that reviews the protection history of these ecologically unique creatures in the Sound, as well as some of the nuances and conflicts that DFO will need to consider in their decision-making.
A final decision on the Phase 3 protection designations, associated with the five newly discovered glass sponge reefs, will be announced in spring 2021. Stay tuned for more details by following these groups on social media: