Earlier this week, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard announced the establishment of eight marine refuges in Howe Sound to protect nine newly discovered glass sponge reefs. The Howe Sound glass sponge reefs are some of the most biologically productive reefs, providing habitat for more than 84 species of invertebrates and fish, such as prawns and rockfish. Together, the 9 reefs clean over 17 billion litres of water, filtering bacteria and processing carbon and nitrogen. Fishery closures to preserve the glass sponge reefs will take effect in advance of the spring fishing season and apply to all commercial, recreational and Indigenous bottom contact fishing activities. Prawn and crab traps, shrimp and groundfish trawls, groundfish hook and line, and the use of downrigger gear in recreational salmon trolling are now prohibited within the protected areas.