There are three designated marine conservation areas around Hornby. The purpose of the Conservation Areas are to make people aware of the high marine values both below and above the surface of the ocean, and to enforce regulations to preserve the marine ecosystems.
12 a) The Marine Component of Helliwell Provincial Park which makes up the vast majority of Helliwell’s 2,872 hectares. The Conservation Area that forms the Marine Component of Helliwell Provincial Park goes from the low water mark to a depth of up to approximately 80 m. Nash Bank, a long string of underwater reefs extending far into the Strait of Georgia from the end of Dunlop Point, is an important underwater feature. The reefs cause the nutrient-rich waters from deep in the Strait to rise to the surface, providing food for a whole ecosystem.
The sea life is abundant and diverse. Salmon, herring, lingcod and rockfish inhabit the area. Six-gill sharks are seen on occasion. Recently humpback whales have returned. An elephant seal is making his home on Flora for parts of the year. Steller and California sea lions spend the winter months in this area. Numerous species of gulls, pigeon guillemots, marbled murrelets, loons, scoters, grebes and many other species of birds spend all or part of the year here. Many spend the winter months here and migrate to nesting areas elsewhere. Orcas are frequently sighted.
Recently, Flora Islet, located off the end of St. John’s Point at Helliwell Park, was designated as part of the park through the Pacific Marine Heritage Legacy. The Islet is one of only two locations in the world where divers can see the rare six-gill shark. Scuba divers and marine biologists come from around the world to see this deep-sea shark that ascends from great depths to the relative shallows around Flora Islet.
The purpose of the Conservation Areas are to make people aware of the high marine values both below and above the surface of the ocean.
12 b) The intertidal and offshore component of Tribune Bay Provincial Park. Tribune Bay Beach is a large sandy beach that provides spawning habitat for Pacific Sand Lance, small forage fish that are an important food source for many larger species. Offshore in the Bay, eelgrass beds support biodiversity by providing food and shelter for fish and invertebrates. In late afternoon, osprey and bald eagles are often fishing in the bay. The evening can bring a large presence of Canada geese. When the tide is out, you will see a profusion of sea dollars (if they are black and “furry” they are alive). Seals are occasional visitors to the Bay and there have been rare visits by an elephant seal.
12 c) The ‘Rockfish Conservation Area’ located in the Lambert Channel, outside Ford Cove. The Federal Department and Fisheries and Oceans designated over 100 sites on the BC coast as rockfish conservations areas. One of these sites has been established between Maude Reef and Savoie Rock inside the Lambert Channel on the west side of Hornby Island. Within this area any type of fishing that would impact on rockfish is prohibited. It is purported that the rockfish colony at this location is at risk. As a reminder to local fisherman, CHI posted posters at the marina and other appropriate locations.
Seals, Sea Lions and Birds on Land
- BE CAUTIOUS AND QUIET when around haul-outs and bird colonies, especially during breeding, nesting and pupping seasons (generally May to September).
- REDUCE SPEED, minimize wake, wash and noise, and then slowly pass without stopping. AVOID approaching closer than 100 metres/yards to any marine mammals or birds.
- PAY ATTENTION and move away, slowly and cautiously, at the first sign of disturbance or agitation.
- DO NOT disturb, move, feed or touch any marine wildlife, including seal pups. If you are concerned about a potentially sick or stranded animal, contact your local stranding network where available.