Research Document - 2016/034

Identification of Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in Canada’s Offshore Pacific Bioregion

By Stephen Ban, Janelle M. R. Curtis, Candice St. Germain, R. Ian Perry, and Thomas W. Therriault

Abstract

Canada has committed to identifying and protecting Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) within its territorial waters. Five habitat types (hydrothermal vents, seamounts, the continental slope, abyssal/bathypelagic waters, and pelagic/surface waters) in Canada’s Offshore Pacific Bioregion were assessed against eight EBSA criteria established by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Convention on Biological Diversity. All known or inferred active and inactive hydrothermal vent fields and their associated structures, vent fluids, gases, and biological communities ranked as highly unique, vulnerable, productive, diverse, natural, and important for life history stages, species and species aggregation. All named seamounts, including the seafloor, substrata, and associated water column, were identified as EBSAs, as well as the Baby Bare – Grizzly Bare complex. Seamounts ranked highly as unique, vulnerable, diverse, natural, and important for species aggregation. The continental slope was assessed as a whole and ranked highly as vulnerable, diverse, and important for life history stages/species, threatened, endangered or declining species or habitats, and for species aggregation. Two EBSAs in the pelagic/surface waters were identified: the Haida Eddy and the North Pacific Transition Zone (NPTZ). The Haida Eddy was ranked as high for uniqueness and medium in terms of productivity, diversity, naturalness, and importance for life history stage or species, and species aggregation. The NPTZ ranked highly as productive, diverse, and important for life history stages or species, threatened, endangered or declining species or habitats, and for species aggregation. The abyssal/bathypelagic habitats did not meet EBSA criteria.  The hydrothermal vents and NPTZ EBSAs in Canada’s Offshore Pacific Bioregion are contiguous with corresponding EBSAs identified in international waters of the North Pacific Ocean, and seamount EBSAs in Canada are consistent with eight EBSAs identified in the northeast Pacific Ocean.

 Complete PDF document
(162 pages; 3,925K)

Accessibility Notice:

This document is available in PDF format. If the following document is not accessible to you, please contact the Secretariat to obtain another appropriate format, such as regular print, large print, Braille or audio version.

Offer to produce in both official languages:

This report uses scientific and technical terms and is published in the official language of the working group or scientific expert that produced the document. If this document is not accessible to you in the official language of your choice, please contact the Secretariat.

Date modified: