Mission Blue Hope Spot:
Saanich Inlet & The Southern Gulf Islands
Mission Blue Hope Spot: In March 2017, Mission Blue and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature announced their approval of an official New Hope Spot: Saanich Inlet and the Southern Gulf Islands. Hope Spots are special places that are critical to the health of the ocean and strive to recognize, empower, and support individuals and communities around the world in their efforts to protect the ocean. Rockfish Divers submitted the original application in early 2015 based on our Rockfish Divers Marine Science Foundation that includes baseline monitoring for various marine creatures and plants throughout the area in order to track changes taking place underwater over time. In the application we acknowledged there are many endeavours in our community working to promote education, awareness and conservation of the ecological significance in the area and we believe that all of these efforts played a role in the acceptance of this Hope Spot.
This new Hope Spot is bordered by Vancouver Island, the mainland of North America, and the USA/Canada Border. It extends as far north as Gabriola Island, east as far as Saturna Island, south as far as D'Arcy Island and includes the Goldstream estuary that feeds Saanich Inlet. The Goldstream River is the only major tributary feeding the Saanich Inlet and sees thousands of salmon returning each year through the Southern Gulf Islands. Pictures alone aren't enough to express how rich the area is with ecologically diverse creatures and plants unique from anywhere else in the world.
Rockfish Divers is very proud of this achievement and the opportunity to bring further international attention to Saanich Inlet and the Southern Gulf Islands, but we know there is more that can be done to promote environmental stewardship to protect the marine biodiversity. MLA Adam Olsen, a member of the Tsartlip First Nation and recent Deputy Leader of the BC Green Party has shared:
“The Saanich Inlet is a very special place. It has been home to my ancestors for countless generations, and I grew up fishing and playing in the Inlet. We have a great deal of work to get it back to the biodiversity and productivity it was once known for but through the incredible efforts of local residents, it is on the comeback. With another generation of heavy industry proposed for the Saanich Inlet we must reaffirm our commitment to a better future rather than chasing 20th-century industries.
The Mission Blue Hope Spot designation is another step toward embracing the opportunities created by life-sustaining eco-systems that surround us. I am very excited about the opportunity provided by this designation for our home and I look forward to taking advantage of the economic, social and environmental benefits it provides us!”