Northeast Pacific Seamounts
Expedition

Seamounts—underwater mountains, usually volcanos, that rise from the sea floor—are internationally recognized as biological hotspots and critically important ecosystems to protect for the health of our oceans.

These highly-structured hard substrates with nutrient rich water provide ideal environments for coral and sponge growth, in turn providing nursery and foraging habitat important for fish populations and other marine life.

Exploration

Explored underwater mountains in the northeast Pacific Ocean, off the coast of British Columbia.

Science

Deployed remotely operated vehicles to capture high-definition video and establish monitoring sites on three seamounts. Conducted seafloor mapping to learn more about existing seamounts and discovered newly identified ones.

Campaigning

Contributed through science, consultation and advocacy to helping develop a Marine Protected Area for the Northeast Pacific Seamounts, which will provide permanent protection from threats such as mining and bottom-contact fishing gear.

From July 5-21, 2018, Oceana Canada, the Haida Nation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Ocean Networks Canada embarked on an expedition to explore seamounts near the islands of Haida Gwaii in the northeast Pacific Ocean off the coast of British Columbia.

The expedition team spent 16 days on board Ocean Exploration Trust’s state-of-the-art vessel, Nautilus, equipped with two remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), Hercules and Argus, and a multi-beam echosounder used for seafloor mapping.

All known seamounts located in Canadian waters are found off the coast of British Columbia, near the islands of Haida Gwaii.

The ROVs installed long-term ocean monitoring instruments on Dellwood and collected 150 specimens from over 100 species, which may include a number of newly identified species. The expedition team mapped a total of 13 seamounts including SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie, Dellwood and Explorer. Six of the mapped seamounts were new discoveries, significantly expanding the known size and area of these underwater mountain ranges. Oceana Canada is now calling for the permanent protection of all seamounts in Canada, add your voice.

To relive the expedition, click on the map below.

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    Protecting marine habitat on all three of Canada’s Coasts


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    Partners

    Oceana Canada


    Oceana Canada was established as an independent charity in 2015 and is part of the largest international advocacy group dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana Canada has successfully campaigned to end the shark fin trade, make rebuilding depleted fish populations the law, improve the way fisheries are managed and protect marine habitat. We work with civil society, academics, fishers, Indigenous Peoples and the federal government to return Canada’s formerly vibrant oceans to health and abundance. By restoring Canada’s oceans, we can strengthen our communities, reap greater economic and nutritional benefits and protect our future.

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    Fisheries and Oceans Canada


    Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is committed to working with partners to provide the best available science, in order to achieve sustainable management of our oceans and their aquatic resources and to reach our marine conservation targets. As such, DFO conducts more than 130 science missions year-round in Canadian waters. This expedition focuses on seamounts within a Marine Protected Area (MPA) and a newly announced Area of Interest (AOI) that will likely be become one of Canada’s largest MPAs by 2020. The AOI captures nearly all known Canadian seamounts and 100% of Canada’s hydrothermal vents.

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    Haida Nation


    Haida have occupied and managed Haida Gwaii and its surrounding waters since before time. The nation’s territory encompasses parts of southern Alaska and the archipelago of Haida Gwaii, including SGaan Kinghlas Seamount. The nation is engaged with all levels of Indigenous and Canadian governments on collaborative research projects across all disciplines, and contributes original research which includes the integration of Indigenous knowledge.

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    Ocean Networks Canada


    Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), an initiative of the University of Victoria, monitors the west and east coasts of Canada and the Arctic to continuously deliver data in real-time for scientific research that helps communities, governments, and industry make informed decisions about our future. Using cabled observatories, remote control systems and interactive sensors, and big data management, ONC enables evidence-based decision-making on ocean management, marine safety and environmental protection. ONC has been working in collaboration with educators, students, communities and Indigenous Peoples on ocean monitoring initiatives along British Columbia’s coast and in the Arctic for the past five years.

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