BC's Ocean Bounty

While we may curse our cold oceans when we dip into them during the heat of the summer, it means favourable conditions for seaweed. The cold and clean waters off the BC coasts present ideal conditions for providing some of the world’s best seaweed. The cost of BC, namely off Vancouver Island, is home to an estimated 600 species of aquatic plants, including the greatest variety of kelp found anywhere in the world!

Did you know seaweed starts its growing period around Christmas, when Earth is tilted away from the sun in our northern hemisphere? It begins reproducing in the spring. Seaweed season is May until September, when it can be legally harvested from the ocean. While seaweed does not have roots, it does have a holdfast which binds them to rocks and other under water solid surfaces. Much like that vase of tulips on the kitchen table that leans towards the sun, seaweed does the same thing all the while absorbing nutrients from the sun and sea to give us its superfood powers.

BC’s coastline is rugged with many streams feeding into it. The constant flow of water is one of the keys to our robust crops of seagreens – rivers to the sea carry nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen. While seaweed does also grow in tropical waters – seaweed tends to like temperatures that don’t fluctuate too much – cold water holds more dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide than warm water.

How to Help

It’s good to note, then, that anything we flush down the sink or toilet can potentially end up in the ocean. While wastewater treatment facilities do a good job of eliminating some compounds into our oceans, they don’t catch everything. Sea life near sewage outflow pipes in Victoria, BC, for example, contain high concentrations of antidepressants as well as other pharmaceuticals when recently tested by the Capital Regional District, according to this CBC article.

This is why it’s so important to do our part to keep our oceans clean, especially the treasure of our beautiful coasts. Start by returning unused medication to your pharmacist who will then dispose of it correctly. Medication that ends up in the garbage or down the drain, can have a negative effect on our marine environment.

It's so important we do our part not only for our enjoyment and nourishment, but also for future generations.