BC Central Coast Expedition (Bella Bella)

Expedition in the Central Coast of British Columbia

The Mission

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Oceana Canada are leading a six way partnership to explore the Central Coast of British Columbia from March 7-14, 2018 aboard the CCGS Vector. In partnership with the Heiltsuk and Kitasoo/Xai’Xais First Nations, the Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance (CCIRA), and Ocean Networks Canada, we will explore and conduct research in Kynoch Inlet, Seaforth Channel and Fitz Hugh Sound, areas with a high conservation value and that vulnerable fish populations depend on.

The Area

Diving to depths below 200 meters, we will study fjord habitats that are home to complex rocky reefs with a high diversity of rockfish, corals, sponges, and basket stars. These are unique ecosystems where marine life flourishes.

These habitats act as nurseries and spawning grounds for fish populations that depend on them to grow and thrive. By studying these areas, we can better protect them.

The areas selected have ecological importance and are significant to First Nations for sustaining cultural and spiritual practices. Research in these unique ecosystems is extremely limited, as almost no scientific exploration has occurred below depths of 100 metres.

The DFO Science Team

Tammy Norgard
Expedition Lead Scientist, Large Offshore Pacific Marine Protected Area Program Head, Pacific Biological Station

Tammy evaluates benthic impacts and species distribution with mapping/models of offshore seamounts. She collaborates with academics and First Nations to gather baseline and monitoring data, ecological monitoring and conduct research. Tammy is the expedition lead scientist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada and will be on the CCGS Vector.

Dr. Cherisse Du Preez
Marine biologist, Pacific Biological Station

Cherisse works with the Marine Spatial and Ecology Analysis Division studying deep seafloor habitats in potential and existing Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Pacific Ocean. Cherisse will be leading the collection of scientific information from the imagery captured during the deep submersible dives and will be on board the CCGS Vector.

Lily Burke
Marine Biologist, Institute of Ocean Sciences

Lily currently contributes to projects studying the ecology of glass sponge reefs and the development of novel monitoring methods. She has extensive experience identifying rockfish in numerous underwater video survey methodologies. During the mission, she will be on the CCGS Vector, annotating the drop camera footage in real time to gather data about animal abundance and distribution in the various marine environments visited.

James Pegg
Visual Survey Coordinator, Pacific Biological Station

James is the brain behind the development of the deep sea drop camera BOOTS which will be used by DFO for the third time only. During the mission, he will be on the CCGS Vector, responsible for the underwater equipment and its effective deployment and will ensure that the data are collected and backed up properly.

Miriam O
Section Head for the Marine Spatial Ecology and Analysis Section, Pacific Biological Station

Miriam is the Section Head for which much of the research from this expedition will be used in. During the expedition, she will be based out of Klemtu and Bella Bella where she will be supporting the shore based community engagement activities as well as coordinating the survey.

Dana Haggarty
Program Head of the Inshore Rockfish and Lingcod, Pacific Biological Station

Dana’s current projects focus on modeling rockfish habitat, the recovery of Yelloweye Rockfish populations, rockfish barotrauma, and Lingcod stock assessment. She is collaborating with international partners, industry, academics, ENGOs and First Nations on longline and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) surveys to monitor and assess fish populations and their habitats. Dana has been essential in helping develop specific survey objectives for this mission and will be supporting it from shore in coordinating the survey and then analysis of the data.

The Partners

Oceana Canada

  • Robert Rangeley, Director of Science
  • Alexandra Cousteau, Senior Advisor
  • Alexandra Vance, Marine Biologist/Communications advisor

Heiltsuk First Nation

  • Mike Reid - Aquatics Manager
  • Diana Chan – Assistant Aquatics Manager

Kitasoo/Xai’Xais First Nation

  • Barry Edgar - Marine Planning Coordinator

Central Coast Indigenous Resource Alliance

  • Tristan Blaine, Field Technician
  • Alejandro Frid, Science Coordinator

Ocean Networks Canada

  • Maia Hoeberechts, Associate Director, User Services


  • Kim Wallace – Technical Camera Expert, Highland Consulting
The Tools
The "BOOTS" submersible

The Bathyal Ocean Observation and Televideo System, also known as “BOOTS”, is a submersible drop-camera platform. Attached to its body is an array of sub-sea scientific and navigational instruments, including high-resolution cameras, flood lights, and sensors for temperature, oxygen, depth, and more. Towed just above the seafloor by the ship, BOOTS can withstand dives down to 2000 m depths, where it relays data and imagery in real time to a shipboard computer through a long optic cable.


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Photo gallery

CCGS Vector

CCGS Vector

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