A rare underwater mountain off the coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands has been designated Canada’s newest marine protected area.
Chris Elliott, with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), made the announcement in Vancouver yesterday with Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn and a representative of the Haida Nation.
Elliott said that unlike most seamounts, which summit hundreds of metres below sea level, Bowie rises to within 24 metres of the surface.
This allows it to support a thriving marine community typical of shallower waters and makes it one of the most biologically rich seamounts in the world.
“It is home to an astounding richness of marine life,” Elliott said. “(It’s) been called an island of biodiversity.”
Lunn said Bowie Seamount is like an oceanic oasis in the deep sea
“(It’s) a rare and ecologically rich marine area ... that must be protected.
Guujaaw, president of the Council Of Haida Nation, said the announcement represents an important move toward “recognizing the need for respect and care for the Earth.”
“This is a very significant turning point in reversing the trends that have been leading to the depletion of life in the sea,” he said.
The new Marine Protected Area will safeguard a complex of three offshore seamounts — Bowie, Hodgkins and Davidson seamounts.