Vancouver Courier, Kelsey Klassen and Sarah Ripplinger - April 20, 2017
Marine experts take the pulse of the region’s most iconic bodies of water
Howe Sound is North America’s southernmost fjord, located within the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation alongside the Sea-to-Sky corridor, just northwest of Vancouver. It boasts the steep walls, cold winds and mountainous skyline of a fjord, as well as being home to populated islands such as Bowen and Gambier. Dr. Andrew Day, executive director of the Vancouver Aquarium’s Coastal Ocean Research Institute (CORI), calls Howe Sound a “rare gift” – not just a slate-grey jewel in the landscape, but an untamed playground for divers, sport fishermen, residents and tourists. Once a marine Garden of Eden brimming with herring, salmon, resident whales and sponge reefs, however, Howe Sound’s proximity to a major city, as well as the introduction of whaling, mining, pulp mills, commercial fisheries and residential development over the past century, has led to dramatic changes to the sound’s delicate ecosystems – 99 per cent of which remain unprotected.
Top: Dr. Andrew Day, on a bluff overlooking Howe Sound. Dan Toulgoet photo Bottom: An aerial view of the Squamish estuary. Tracey Saxby photo