Monday, June 14, 2010

How a small sponge may save an ocean

From Andy Mathisen (AllVoices)

A small marine invertebrate known as a Glass Sponge has probably helped keep Haida Gwaii and Hecate Strait a little safer from oil exploration today.
Canadian Fisheries & Oceans Minister Gail Shea announced in Ottawa today that certain reef areas in Hecate Strait where the sponge resides are to be "areas of interest".
Conservation groups applauded the announcement as this is the first step towards designation as a "Marine Protected Area" which would see the area protected from development in perpetuity.
On Monday, the Federal Government announced a 10km protected area in all the waters around the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve on South Moresby Island.

Although a moratorium of both oil exploration and oil tanker traffic has been in place for decades...the past few years have seen keen interest by both the BC Provincial Government and oil companies to develop the oil and gas reserves in the area.

At present, Enbridge wants to build a pipeline from the Athabaska tar sands project down to Kitimat, BC. This could mean oil tankers plying the precious and precarious coastline.
Many see a showdown in the works between the two levels of government over these issues
BUT...for the time being the rich marine diversity of Hecate Strait and nearby Haida Gwaii is safe.
We may end up owing a great thanks to these rare little glass sponges!
(see video narrated by well known Canadian enviro-icon Dr. David Suzuki)

As you watch it imagine the impact of the "Goo in the Gulf" oozing through this rich kelp forest...covering clams, spoiling sponges, tarring birds and sickening seals!
Is it worth a short burst in jobs and megabucks for already rich oil companies?
Many think not !!

Links :
  • Fishery and Oceans : Area of interest for potential Marine Protected Area in Pacific Region
  • CPAWS : Glass sponge reefs

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