Refuge

Refuge

Gwaii Haanas, Haida Gwaii

Juvenile rockfish take shelter in a dense bull kelp forest. I took this photo while diving for a kelp forest restoration project in Gwaii Haanas, and sights like this were rare. Most coastlines in Gwaii Haanas are occupied by sea urchins, which graze kelp forests to oblivion. These sea urchins lack predators, such as sea otters, which were once abundant but have since been hunted to extinction in Haida Gwaii. By restoring kelp forests, there will be more habitat for rockfish like these, and sea otters may return and regain their keystone species role in this important coastal ecosystem.