Gov­ern­ment to pro­tect sea floor ther­mal vents

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD -

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment is tak­ing the first step in pro­tect­ing an area that con­tains rare, chim­ney-like hy­dro­ther­mal vents off Bri­tish Columbia’s coast. The Min­istry of Fish­eries and Oceans an­nounced Wed­nes­day the Marine Pro­tected Area would cover an area twice the size of New Brunswick, or about 140,000 square kilo­me­tres, west of Van­cou­ver Is­land to the edge of Cana­dian wa­ters, 200 nau­ti­cal miles off the coast. The vents, which were only dis­cov­ered in 1982, re­lease min­er­als from the Earth’s crust and are home to a va­ri­ety of unique sea life and plants that have adapted to the harsh con­di­tions cre­ated by the warm or saline wa­ter. The min­istry says it in­tends to cre­ate the Marine Pro­tected Area by 2020, but there are many hur­dles to over­come first.

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