Case Study

GEORGIA BASIN, NORTH PACIFIC

A large component of the Georgia Basin is the Strait of Georgia. This brings powerful tidal currents and fresh water to the basin via the Fraser River. The river plays a key role in the build up of sediment and organic flux within the Georgia Basin (Burd et al., 2008). The sponge reef here is home to many common British Columbian species such as spot prawns (Pandalus platyceros), squat lobsters (Munida quadrispina), blood stars (Henricia sp.) and ratfish (Hydrolagus colliei).

Significantly, the sponge reef is used as a nursery ground by rockfish (Sebastes sp.) (Figure 6). This species has commercial importance and there have been numerous efforts to conserve rockfish in the last few years (Cook et al., 2008). Hydrographic surveys revealed the damaged state of the reef which is thought to have been caused by fishing activities. Although sponge reefs seem to be capable of recovery, the time frame for this is unknown (Cook, 2005). Trawl closures have been put in place nearby, at the Queen Charlotte Basin, and there are hopes that this form of protection shall one day be deemed to the Strait of Georgia (Cook et al., 2008).

Picture of Rockfish amongst red bubblegum coral
Figure 6) Rockfish [Sebastes sp.] [By NOAA’s National Ocean Service [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

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