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Bowie Seamount Protected on B.C. Coast

by NationTalk on April 22, 2008529 Views

Posted on April 21, 2008

CPAWS celebrates announcement of Canada’s 7th marine protected area

Vancouver – CPAWS celebrates the formal safeguarding of Bowie Seamount or Sgaan Kinghlas as Canada’s newest marine protected area. This special underwater mountain, 180 kilometres east of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) is a marine oasis on Canada’s Pacific coast.“We deeply appreciate the commitment of the Haida Nation to protecting Sgaan Kinghlas and their stewardship of the lands and waters of Haida Gwaii,” says Sabine Jessen, national manager of oceans and great freshwater lakes program for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS). “We would also like to recognize the efforts of our colleagues on the advisory committee and the officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada who have all worked hard to reach this milestone. We have been looking forward to this day since Bowie was first announced as an area of interest in 1998.”

The Haida Nation and the Government of Canada have cooperated to protect this important landmark. The 10-year process to protect Bowie Seamount, while slow, highlights the eventual success of collaborative talks and respectful dialogue between First Nations and federal governments, industry and conservationists, through a shared commitment to conserve marine areas.

“Protecting the Bowie Seamount is a milestone, certainly, but far more marine protected areas are needed if Canada has a hope of conserving the health of its oceans and freshwaters,” adds Jessen. “An important next step should be the long promised protection of the Gwaii Haanas marine area as a national marine conservation area – something the Haida Nation and the conservation community have asked for over 20 years.”

“We need the federal government to get serious about establishing the network of marine protected areas first promised back in the 1990s,” adds Jessen. “We need a conservation blueprint for our deep blue waters – a blueprint that includes marine protected areas and comprehensive planning for oceans in this country.”

Bowie Seamount is the 7th marine protected area in Canada. It draws special attention for rising to very shallow waters, with its summit lingering just 25 metres below the waves, and for the largely intact marine communities that flank its slopes which plunge 3100 metres to the ocean floor.

Seamounts are highly productive geological formations that attract increased numbers of fish and marine mammals, such as whales, dolphins and seabirds. In fact, scientists think a minimum of about 240 species occur around Bowie’s top 300 metres alone. Bowie attracts at least 53 fish species, including sablefish, Pacific halibut, Albacore tuna, flying squid and 21 species of rockfish. Bowie Seamount is situated on the southern end of the Kodiak-Bowie seamount chain that stretches across the Gulf of Alaska from Kodiak Island, almost to Haida Gwaii.

CPAWS is Canada’s only national non-profit organization devoted exclusively to protecting Canada’s wilderness heritage. For over 45 years, our 13 chapters across the country have worked successfully to protect nature on land and sea.

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For more information:

Sabine Jessen
National Manager
Oceans and Great Freshwater Lakes program, CPAWS
604-685-7445, ext.27 or 604-657-2813 (cell)

Eva Riccius
Associate Conservation Director, CPAWS-BC
604-685-7445, ext. 32

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