Banner Photo: Diver. (Credit: Adam Taylor)

2020 Rating

2020 Rationale

Positive actions have been taken, with the creation of new marine refugia to protect glass sponge reefs and the expansion of the important bird area (IBA). However, the IBA offers no legal protection.

2017 Rating

2017 Rationale

Recent accomplishments suggest positive improvements, but a need for continued collaboration and communication is essential.

The following is an excerpt from the full updated article. Download the full 2020 article for all content and references.

Marine Protected Areas: expanding, but under protected

Author: Aroha Miller, Manager, Ocean Watch, Ocean Wise Research Institute
Reviewer: David Bradley, Director, British Columbia Bird Studies Canada/Études d’Oiseaux

Robert Butler, President, Pacific Wildlife Foundation

Jessica Schultz, Manager, Howe Sound Conservation and Research Team, Ocean Wise Research Institute

Excerpt from 2020 article

Although no new marine parks have been added to the Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound area since the 2016 expansion of Ch’á7elsm/Halkett Bay Marine Park, several areas designated to protect specific species or groups of species have been added.

Read the full article to see what else is happening.

Background: Glass sponge reefs. (Credit: Adam Taylor)

What’s been done since 2017?

The table below reports on progress made on recommended actions from the previous 2017 article, where identified. Many of these require ongoing action.

2017 Action Action Taken
Government Action and Policy
Meet commitment to protect five percent of the coastal and marine environment by 2017, and 10 percent by 2020. On August 1, 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada has surpassed its target of 10% protection of marine and coastal areas. Currently, Canada has preserved just over 13% of its marine and coastal areas (793, 906 km2).

English Bay/Burrard Inlet Important Bird Area was extended into Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound in January 2019.

Eight marine refuge areas were created around glass sponge reefs in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound in March 2019. The total number of protected glass sponge reefs in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound is now 11.

What can you do?

A detailed overview of recommended actions relating to climate change is included in The path to zero carbon municipalities. In some cases, no progress was identified on previous recommended actions; these remain listed below. Additional actions marked as NEW also follow.

action-individual Individual and Organization Actions:

    • To report any prohibited activities within these areas, call DFO’s 24-hour Observe, Record, Report (ORR) Hotline toll free at 1-800-465-4336, or in greater Vancouver at 604-607-4186. Include as much detail as possible, such as location, time, date and activity.

action-governmentGovernment Action and Policy:

    • NEW Increase the area of Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound covered under MPAs, with an immediate focus on glass sponge reefs, beach spawning habitat, water flow and Wildlife Management Areas.
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