Canada's Pacific Treasure
Bowie Seamount is a veritable oasis in the open ocean for an astonishing abundance of marine life. The largest in a protected chain of three underwater mountains, it lies 180 kilometres west of Haida Gwaii, off British Columbia's West Coast.
Marine TreasureBowie is special among seamounts because it is one of the shallowest in the Northeast Pacific rising close enough to the ocean surface to allow research divers to explore its mysteries.
In August 2003, BC photographer Neil McDaniel joined a research expedition to take biological inventory of Bowie's marine life.
Time for Ocean Action
Ocean currents draw nutrient rich waters to the shores' of these undersea islands feeding a vast diversity of aquatic life shown here in McDaniel's photos. Sea stars, anemones, sponges, and coral beds flourish on Bowie's surface. McDaniel was awed by the abundance and diversity of fish species that engulfed him - halibut, red rockfish, sculpin, prowfish and sablefish.
While seamounts remain largely a mystery, Sgaan Kinghlas is also believed to be an essential stopping point for Orca, humpback and Northern right whales, Stellar sea lions and migratory birds and fish.
Sgaan Kinghlas-Bowie's designation as a marine protected area is significant because seamounts are fragile ecosystems particularly vulnerable to exploitation. While seamounts have large fish populations, their remote location means it can take a long time for stocks to be replenished by fish from distant coastal areas. Sensitive habitats, such as the coral beds and sea sponges found on Sgaan Kinghlas-Bowie, are also vulnerable to damage from human activities.
Since the designation, WWF-Canada has continued to work with governments and stakeholders to champion a strong management plan for Sgaan Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount. One that ensures the limited human activity allowed will take place in a responsible manner - in order to preserve this unique Pacific treasure.