New science mission launched to study unique seamounts in the northeast Pacific Ocean - Oceana Canada

New science mission launched to study unique seamounts in the northeast Pacific Ocean

Press Release Date: July 5, 2018

Sidney, British Columbia

Seamounts are underwater mountains that are home to an abundance of marine species, from cold-water corals and sponges to Boccacio rockfish and killer whales. These ecosystems are important to maintaining biodiversity in the ocean and contribute greatly to its health. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Haida Nation, Oceana Canada and Ocean Networks Canada are working together to further ocean research and help protect seamounts in the Pacific Ocean.  

The Northeast Pacific Seamounts Expedition, taking place from July 5 to 21, 2018, will explore three seamounts in the Northeast Pacific Ocean: SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie, Dellwood and Explorer.

During the 16-day expedition aboard Ocean Exploration Trust’s vessel, E/V Nautilus, partners will survey and collect data on the physical features and ecosystems of the seamounts. They will establish long-term monitoring sites on SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount, and for the first time, will use multibeam sonar to map Dellwood and Explorer Seamounts.

Canadians can join the partners as they explore the mystery and wonder of these seamounts through daily livestreaming and updates which will be available during the expedition on

This expedition will provide benchmark data for long-term ecosystem monitoring and scientific research to help conserve and manage seamounts. The findings will support protection measures for these unique seamount habitats, which are critical for ensuring a healthy ocean. 


“We are working hard to protect our oceans and keep them healthy and resilient for future generations. Through this important partnership with the Haida Nation, Oceana Canada, and Ocean Networks Canada, we can provide the best available science for decision-making and ensure we are taking the necessary steps to conserve these unique marine habitats.” 

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“We have long-told stories of the seamounts situated in Haida territory. These stories go back to a time when the sea levels were much lower than they are today and the tops of these mountains stood high above the waves. On this expedition, we are going beneath the waves, working with our partners to shine a light on this lesser known realm, to uncover and see things that we hope will bring new knowledge and perspectives to our understanding of these supernatural beings. We believe this cooperative expedition will not only further our shared understanding of these unique environments, but also support their protection.” 

kil tlaats ‘gaa Peter Lantin, President of the Haida Nation

“This unique partnership and leading-edge technology provide us with the rare opportunity to explore and study a biologically diverse and productive seamount system of global significance. The new scientific knowledge we gain will inform protection, management and monitoring of these poorly understood seamounts. With serious environmental threats facing our oceans, it is important to communicate our science in ways that compel Canadians to support important marine conservation action: through interactive communications, including live streaming, everyone will be able to see stunning deep-sea images and follow the expedition’s daily journey.”

Robert Rangeley, Science Director, Oceana Canada

“The ocean is complex, and it takes a diverse partnership like this one to help us understand our blue planet’s deep-sea engine. Ocean Networks Canada is thrilled to contribute to this exciting collaboration with our world-leading ocean observing technology, which provides the ocean ‘intelligence’ decision-makers need to preserve and protect ocean ecosystems for future generations.”  

Kim Juniper, Chief Scientist, Ocean Networks Canada—an initiative of the University of Victoria

Quick Facts

  • Explorer and Dellwood Seamounts are situated within Canada’s Offshore Pacific Area of Interest, announced, an area that includes a series of hydrothermal vents and 87% of known seamounts in Canada. More research can help gain a better understanding of this important area and support more permanent protection measures such as designating the area as a Marine Protected Area. 
  • SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount and the surrounding area have been designated by both the Haida Nation and Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a Marine Protected Area. 
  • Located 180 kilometres offshore and to the west of Haida Gwaii, SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount extends 3,000 meters from the surrounding seafloor and reaches to just 24 meters below the sea’s surface.
  • The E/V Nautilus is equipped with two remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and a multibeam echosounder used for seafloor mapping.
  • The ROVs will collect samples and high definition video from the seamounts, and install a long term monitoring instrument on Dellwood Seamount.

Associated Links



Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Vincent Hughes
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Simon Davies
Communications Director
Council of the Haida Nation

Zoryana Cherwick
Pilot PMR on behalf of Oceana Canada
416-462-0199 x232 or 647-746-6764

Greig Bethel
Media Relations
Ocean Networks Canada
250-472-4743 or 250-216-7510