Have your say on a new proposed Marine Protected Area
Explore this extraordinary west coast underwater world with ONC
March 13, 2023

There is one week left to have your say on proposed regulations for a potential new Marine Protected Area (MPA) located off the west coast of Vancouver Island and home to seismically active zones with unique deep sea ecosystems.

Public comments are now being accepted on the Government of Canada’s Canada Gazette until March 20, 2023.

The proposed MPA, named Tang.ɢwan — ḥačxwiqak — Tsig̱is (ThT), is home to more than 46 underwater mountains, known as seamounts, and all known hydrothermal vents in Canada. These deep-sea biological “hotspots” are globally rare and support deep-water species unique to this area.

Explore some of this extraordinary undersea terrain with footage captured during previous ONC expedition dives in the area.

There are 14 MPAs in Canada, and ThT is set to become the second largest. The site will be co-managed by the Government of Canada, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, the Council of the Haida Nation, Pacheedaht First Nation, and Quatsino First Nation. Once approved, the proposed regulations would repeal the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents MPA regulations as this site will be included within the ThT MPA.

The new name for the proposed MPA consists of a Haida word meaning “deep ocean” (Tang.ɢwan), a Nuu-chah-nulth and Pacheedaht word meaning “deepest part of the ocean” (ḥačxwiqak) and a Quatsino word referring to a “monster of the deep” (Tsig̱is). It represents the strong connections and shared values between partner First Nations and recognizes their intimate connection to the marine environment.

“We are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with First Nations, in the spirit of reconciliation on this agreement to cooperatively manage the proposed Tang.ɢwan — ḥačxwiqak — Tsig̱is,” said the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, “This Marine Protected Area demonstrates Canada’s shared determination to protect distinctive ecosystems and our priority to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Rare and unique species will be protected, contributing to the ocean's health and sustainability.”

Read the Government of Canada news release.

Feature image courtesy of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

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