Offshore Pacific Seamounts and Vents Closure

Location
Offshore Pacific Bioregion (British Columbia)
Approximate Size (km2) contribution to Marine Conservation Targets
82,530 km2
Approximate % coverage contribution to Marine Conservation Targets
1.44%
Conservation Objective
Protect seamounts, hydrothermal vents and the ecosystems they support

Ecological Components of Interest

Species of regional importance: corals, sponges, and other endemic or rare species that live on seamounts and hydrothermal vents.

  • Why they are important: Hexactinellid (i.e., glass) and demosponges found on these seamounts are fragile, slow growing, and slow to recover. It has been estimated that over 80% of hydrothermal vent species are endemic and rare, and more than 500 new animal species have been described since discovery of these ecosystems in 1977.

Habitat that is important to biodiversity conservation: seamounts and a chain of hydrothermal vent fields.

  • Why it is important: This fisheries area closure encompasses a number of seamounts and hydrothermal vents - identified as Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) - ensuring that benthic species and communities are protected, as well as the physical characteristics of the features themselves. These benthic EBSAs are home to corals and sponges, which create complex structures and provide habitat for numerous regionally important species, including some (e.g., several rockfish species) that are of conservation concern.

Prohibitions

The ecological components of interest are effectively conserved through the following prohibitions:

All bottom-contact commercial and recreational fishing activities.

Other Considerations

No human activities that are incompatible with the conservation of the ecological components of interest may occur or be foreseeable within the area.

Environmental Context

Canada was the first country to protect globally rare hydrothermal vents with the establishment of the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents MPA (97 km2) in 2003. Currently only 8% of hydrothermal vents world-wide are protected.

Seamounts are rare and regionally unique geological features in the abyssal plain that provide important habitat for fish and other species.

Offshore Pacific Seamounts and Vents Closure

Offshore Pacific Seamounts and Vents Closure

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