Pacific Coral Mountains
Far from the shore of BC and more than four times the size of Vancouver Island, an otherworldly seascape of underwater mountains and fragile coral forests exists below the surface.
The area (officially designated the Offshore Area of Interest) supports 13 individual marine mountains – all stretching over 1000 metres from the seafloor – that are ocean oases supporting complex ecosystems. They are literal hotspots for sea life, where hydrothermal vents release billowing black smoke and nutrient-rich water superheated by the earth’s core.
The vents and mountains are a gathering place for sea life. From microscopic creatures all the way up to octopus, rays, sharks, whales and dolphins.
Making this area full Marine Protected Area with restrictions on oil and gas is a chance to protect fragile seamounts, preserve the area for future scientific exploration and move a step closer towards Canada’s 2020 target for marine protection.