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Protecting the Great Bear Sea for Generations to Come

This week the federal government approved the Northern Gateway pipeline project in the Great Bear region to the dismay of WWF, First Nations, the majority of British Columbians and many others. Tens of thousands of Canadians supported WWF campaigns to protect this ecological treasure from the risk of an inevitable oil spill. In British Columbia, the provincial government and First Nations recognize the ecological, cultural and economic value of the Great Bear Sea and B.C.’s north coast region. They’re working on an ambitious marine plan that will provide a framework for finding ways to safeguard the Great Bear Sea for the future.

Eighteen First Nations and the B.C. Provincial government are close to finishing a marine plan for BC’s coastal waters that will cover 102,000 kilometres of vast ocean space. Called the Marine Planning Partnership or MaPP for short, this ambitious plan will lay out a blueprint for developing a sustainable marine economy while keeping our ocean healthy for generations to come.

WWF is excited to announce the MaPP plan is close to being ready. We’ve provided conservation science to the planning process for the past two and half years. Now we’re asking Canadians to join us in a campaign to encourage the BC government to adopt these plans and honour its commitment to marine protection, for today and into the future.

GBS_Share-Shark

Our Kid’s have big plans for our ocean. We should too! Send your message.

To see what’s at stake in the Great Bear Sea, take a look at this story map that our friends at Living Oceans Society have created.  It’s a great visual place to meet the residents, find out who lives here and discover what lies beneath the surface of the sea.

You’ll find spotlight areas on the map that have been proposed for protection in the MaPP plan. Click on them to bring each area to life.

Scroll along the mouth of Douglas Channel to areas 17-20. You’ll find a haul-out site for Steller sea lions, a hot spot for whales that gather around Gil Island and critical habitat areas for fin, humpback and killer whales.

Head out to spotlight #15 to see B.C.’s amazing glass sponge reefs. These prehistoric reefs in Hecate Strait can reach up to 19 metres in height and are made entirely of silica or glass. They shelter many marine animals including endangered rockfish.

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Humpback whale breaching in the Great Bear Sea. © forwhales.org

In addition to the 37 spotlight areas on this map, this new video Mapping BC’s Oceans Future shows some of the wonders of this marine treasure and the large scale MaPP plans that will help lay the groundwork for determining ways to safeguard it. WWF is one of many groups working to protect the Great Bear and northern coast, home to underwater seamounts, far roaming seabirds, kelp forests, eelgrass ‘meadows of the sea’, ancient clam beds, and rare and endangered species and habitats.

After you’ve toured the Great Bear Sea and met its residents, take the time to support marine conservation.

Visit Greatbearsea.org and add your name.  Help protect the Great Bear Sea for now, and forever.