FALL 2017 The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia
is invited to the Royal Ontario Museum
The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia (ARSBC) is thrilled to announce its participation in an upcoming event at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto. On Sunday, September 24, 2017 the ARSBC will give a special presentation on their renowned reefing projects, to coincide with the Museum’s Canada 150 activities and Brilliant Science Family Funday in celebration of Science Literary Week.
“This will be a unique and creative way of sharing with the Canadian public how surplus vessels can be used to create environmentally and economically sustainable 'artificial reefs'. The primary aim of our reefs is for the protection and enhancement of sensitive marine habitats, which also provide interesting destinations for the enjoyment of scuba divers,” said Howard Robins, President of ARSBC.
The ARSBC, which has created more artificial reefs than any other non-profit group in the world, is considered a world leader in this field. With the successful sinking of the former HMCS Annapolis in Halkett Bay in April 2015, the Society has completed eight major projects in BC coastal waters.
Click here for more information on the ROM’s Brilliant Science Family Sunday. The ARSBC will give a presentation in the Museum’s Eaton Theatre as well as have a booth in the ROM’s gallery. This will provide visitors the opportunity to learn more about the work of the Society and experience firsthand the impact that our reefs have on local marine ecosystems. For more information, please contact Rick Wall, Vice President of ARSBC.
SUMMER 2017 Project Update
Annapolis Biodiversity Index Study (ABIS)
Photos and complete taxon on Projects page
Shortly after the Artificial Reef Society of BC successfully sank the decommissioned destroyer escort HMCS Annapolis in Halkett Bay on April 5, 2015, we initiated a study of the gradual recruitment of marine life to the Annapolis. We called it the Annapolis Biodiversity Index Study (ABIS). We asked divers who were diving the ship to record their observations and send them in to Donna Gibbs, taxonomist at the Vancouver Aquarium, who was compiling a taxon or list of marine species inhabiting the Annapolis. Results were encouraging and within six months we had recorded the presence of some 60 species!
In the summer of 2016 we applied for and received a BC Parks grant that allowed us to put together a dedicated team of divers tasked with visiting the Annapolis on a regular basis. Again, the results have exceeded our expectations. The latest version of the taxon shows 118 species! The latest taxon can be found on our website.
The BC Parks grant expired this summer and given the present uncertain nature of the provincial government, the timing of the reimplementation of the grant is unsure. BC Parks is confident that the grant will return but it is not sure when that will happen.
So, we are asking again for assistance from the diving community. If you are planning to dive the Annapolis and able to record what you are seeing with videos or still images, we would like you to forward copies of your videos or images to Donna Gibbs at email@example.com
The study is expected to run for five years and this ongoing documentation of the gradual recruitment of marine life to one of BC’s artificial reefs is a unique diving opportunity and a chance to make a real contribution to our overall knowledge of the marine environment.
Thank you and dive safe,
Director, Biological Monitoring Programs
PRESS RELEASE: The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia & Catalyst Paper announce plans for historic artificial reef project
The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia (ARSBC) and Catalyst Paper (Powell River Division) are pleased to announce a joint effort to pursue the conversion of four surplus vessels into artificial reefs in Powell River, BC.
The ARSBC, which has sunk more ships and aircraft than any other non-profit group in the world to create marine habitat, will consult with Catalyst within the federal government’s regulatory framework for the disposal of these vessels at sea. This will require applying for permits and/or approvals from Environment Canada, Transport Canada and the Department of Fisheries & Oceans.
“We are delighted to work with the Artificial Reef Society to re-purpose these historic concrete vessels, converting them into future productive marine reef systems,” says Fred Chinn, Vice President & General Manager, Catalyst Powell River Division. “This artificial reef has the potential to become a significant scuba dive tourism attraction for the City of Powell River, which will benefit our community and economy.”
The four ships planned for reefing are currently part of the mill’s 10-vessel breakwater infrastructure. These ships, which are no longer required, include YOGN-82, Emile N. Vidal, Quartz and S.S. Peralta. The reefing program will be a multi-phase initiative with YOGN-82 to be the first vessel prepared and sunk in 2017.
The vessels, all American war surplus were purchased over time by Catalyst after the Second World War and are between 70 and 95-years-old. Constructed from cast reinforced concrete, they have survived afloat and have been part of Powell River’s seascape acting as a breakwater system protecting the mill’s log pond and foreshore. Ranging from 109 to 128 meters long, and weighting between 6,000 to 8,000 tons, these historic relics are the last of their kind afloat anywhere in the world. The S.S. Peralta, which spans 128 meters in length, is the oldest at 97 years dating back to just after the First World War.
The ARSBC completed its eighth major project on April 4, 2015 after the successful sinking of the former HMCS Annapolis in Halkett Bay, Gambier Island. Reef Society President Howie Robins believes this exciting new project will build on the organization’s successful record of accomplishment of converting ships into productive reef habitat.
“This will be the most unique and creative marine habitat project ever undertaken by our Society and we are delighted to work with Catalyst throughout this process,” says Robins. “Divers of all skill levels seek novelty and this will be a dive back into maritime history for adventure divers worldwide.”
The ARSBC intends to place these giant vessels in a group formation at variable depths ranging roughly 25 to 35 meters. Accessible only by watercraft, the ships will be sunk within easy scuba swimming distance from each other.
“These wartime relics are already well past their life span, in essence they are already floating artificial reefs based on the generations of biodiversity on their hulls,” adds Robins. “When fully submerged, these ships will form a pinnacle oasis for marine flora and fauna settlement with scale and habitat complexity.”
To date, letters of endorsement for the project have been received from the Tla’amin Nation (Sliammon), the Regional District of Powell River and the City of Powell River.
For more information, please contact:
Rick Wall – Director, Communications, Artificial Reef Society of BC
Mobile: 1-250 895-9067
Fred Chinn – Vice President & General Manager
Catalyst Paper, Powell River Division
The Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia (ARSBC) is a registered non-profit society based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Society has an experienced team of specialists who consult on the creation of long term stable marine habitats using ethical means of vessel preparation. As well as protecting environmentally and historically sensitive marine habitats, these new reefs also provide opportunities for eco-adventure scuba diving tourism. Since 1991, the Artificial Reef Society has sunk seven ships and one Boeing 737 in the waters off BC's west coast.
Catalyst Paper manufactures diverse printing papers such as coated freesheet, C1S, coated and uncoated ground wood, newsprint, directory, as well as market pulp. Customers include retailers, publishers and commercial printers in North America, Latin America, the Pacific Rim and Europe. With five mills across North America, Catalyst has annual production capacity of 2.3 million tonnes. Catalyst is head quartered in Richmond, British Columbia, and is ranked by Corporate Knights magazine as one of the 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada.
YOGN-82 was one of 22 unpowered B7 A2 gasoline barges built by Concrete Ship Builders of National City, California. YOGN-82 was purchased by the Powell River Company and used as part of their breakwater located on the Malaspina Strait.
Launched: 1944 • Length: 112 m • Breadth: 16 m • Draught: 8 m • Gross Weight: 4408 tonnes
In the News – Sort Of!
Artificial reefs in BC make for great news stories – and they provide equally great opportunities for editorial humour. ARSBC thanks cartoonist Adrian Raeside for his valuable insights on the subject. More from Adrian Raeside....
Welcoming Director Bryan Hicks
It is with great pleasure that the Society welcomes our newest Director to the Board – Mr. Bryan Hicks. Bryan is a lawyer who acted for the ARSBC in the litigation relating to the Annapolis project. The Board is delighted to have him onboard and we look forward to working together on future programs and projects.
ARSBC by Skype and PowerPoint
In early November Rick Wall (Communications Director) gave a presentation to the Scarborough Underwater Club in Toronto, without leaving BC!
Contact us if your group is interested in having our speakers present at your event – in person around the Vancouver area, and around the country by Skype and PowerPoint.
3D Scans of Annapolis
Colin Davidson of LNG Studios has kindly provided us with a whole new way to see HMCS Annapolis!
Visit Our Reefs > Annapolis to try out this new innovation.
ArtToMedia Dive Maps
Made of waterproof UV plastic, these 8.5 by 5.5 inch dive cards fit easily into a three-ring binder and are a diver's best friend both sides of the waterline. All eight of ARSBC's reefs are available as dive cards and can be ordered online from ArtToMedia. The cards feature two views of the vessel, along with location maps, depths, and buoy locations. A brief synopsis of the vessel's history and GPS location is included.
Volunteer job posting: Assistant Secretary to the ARSBC
The role of the Secretary is to support the Board in ensuring smooth functioning of the Society. The Secretary is responsible for:
• Liaising with Board to plan meetings;
• Ensuring meetings are effectively organized and minuted;
• Maintaining records and correspondence;
• Responding to all Board correspondence;
• Checking that agreed actions are carried out;
• Preparing a report of the organisation’s activities for the year for the annual general meeting;
• Some travel may be required;
• The role may require 3-6 hours monthly.
Please contact us if you would like to apply.