Race Rocks AOI

Location

The Race Rocks (XwaYeN) Area of Interest (AOI) is located 17 km southwest of Victoria, British Columbia in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and consists of nine islets. The AOI is approximately 2 km2.

Ecological Importance

Northern Abalone

In 1980, the province of British Columbia established the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, to protect terrestrial, marine and cultural heritage values of the nine islets, and the ocean floor.

Race Rocks (XwaYeN) was named for its strong tidal currents and rocky reefs. High velocity tidal currents, climate and chemical properties of the water contribute to an abundance of nutrients and dissolved oxygen in the area. These factors contribute to an ecosystem of high biodiversity and biological productivity.

Race Rocks is a showcase for Pacific marine life; including large marine mammals, seabirds, fish, invertebrates and plants. The Area of Interest has a rich marine heritage and is culturally significant for several First Nations in the area.

Race Rocks (XwaYeN) Proposed Marine Protected Area Ecosystem Overview and Assessment Report (2011)

Key Objectives and Approach

Since 1995, the waters surrounding Race Rocks have been closed to all commercial fisheries operating in the area, and in 2005, a Rockfish Conservation Area was put in place (see map). Anchoring, ocean dumping, dredging and the extraction of non-renewable resources are prohibited within the reserve boundaries.

In 1980, the province of British Columbia, under the authority of the provincial Ecological Reserves Act, established the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, which provides for the protection of the terrestrial natural and cultural heritage values (nine islets) and of the ocean seabed (to the 20 fathoms contour line). Ocean dumping, dredging and the extraction of non-renewable resources are not permitted within the boundaries of the Ecological Reserve.

On September 1, 1998, the Race Rocks was announced by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The objective for the proposed Race Rocks Marine Protected Area (MPA) is to conserve and protect the biodiversity and ecosystem function of the area.

Research and Publications

Race Rocks (XwaYeN) Proposed Marine Protected Area Ecosystem Overview and Assessment Report (2011)

Race Rocks Marine Protected Area Designation: A Social, Economic, and Cultural Overview (2010)

Update: Pacific Region Area of Interest Race Rocks (2010)

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