Deep below Howe Sound lies a world lost to time – glass sponge reefs thought to be extinct for 40 million years and the citizen scientists putting life and livelihood on the line to protect them.

Now streaming in Canada on CBC Gem! Watch here.

The sea to sky highway from Vancouver to Whistler is famous for its incredible views of Howe Sound, but basically everyone who travels it has no idea that just west of them, hundreds of feet beneath the ocean surface, are living dinosaurs – prehistoric glass sponge reefs thought to have been extinct for over 40 million years. Their recent discovery has catalyzed a group of citizen scientists into action, putting their money and lives on the line to advocate for the protection of these ecologically significant animals.

Moonless Oasis follows this ragtag team of passionate people as they fight to get the government to put protections into place and enforce existing protections. Glen Dennison finds the reefs with a remote operated vehicle.

Once discovered, Hamish Tweed and his team of professional divers head to extreme depths to document the site in greater detail. Marine biologists at Ocean Wise attempt to grow and study sponge in lab conditions for the first time. The wealth of information gathered is given to Adam Taylor who takes it to the government and unrelentingly makes their case.

Outside interests are divided over what the future of Howe Sound should be, putting the lives of these animals into jeopardy. This film explores our current state of ecological uncertainty and the people attempting to go up against industry and government to ensure the survival of a small part of our planet, before it is too late. 

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