The Beacon

Through the looking glass

Picture this: coldwater reefs up to six stories high, so fragile they will break if touched.

That's what researchers found off the coast of Vancouver less than three miles from a sewage treatment plant. These glass reefs, the discovery of an innovative project that lays cameras on the sea floor, were thought to have gone extinct more than 145 million years ago.

Large, slow-growing reefs like this can be shattered in an instant by destructive fishing techniques like bottom trawling. Oceana has already protected more than 620,000 square miles of Pacific Ocean floor from trawling, but the discovery of these beautiful and delicate glass corals gives us more reason to push for wider protected areas. Imagine what other underwater treasures we don't even know about that have already been lost to this wasteful practice.

[Photo courtesy REUTERS/Australian Research Council.]


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