Paying attention to our depths

What lies beneath? That’s something Ocean Networks Canada is trying to answer off the coast of Port Alberni.

What lies beneath? That’s something Ocean Networks Canada is trying to answer, with its scientific equipment based off the coast of Port Alberni.

NEPTUNE has been based off the shores of Port Alberni for close to a decade, but because it’s underwater it’s easy to forget. Run by the University of Victoria, the underwater research program has a low profile on land, but a worldwide reputation among scientists due to the information it gathers via an 840-kilometre long fibre optic cable system that circles Barkley Sound and the Alberni Inlet.

Now, NEPTUNE wants to expand its research equipment with a community station based closer to shore. The station will, according to an Ocean Networks Canada expert, gather data about activities happening closer to shore. One of the aspects of this station we find exciting is that it will track data of the community interacting with the ocean environment, and should help us determine whether that activity is being dealt with in a sustainable or harmful manner.

As more attention turns to the Alberni Inlet’s natural deep-sea port, we think this will be a valuable tool that can potentially keep shore-side businesses accountable. It can also act as a long-range warning system for rising ocean temperatures and water levels, giving us a picture of things to come for our community.

There is also the possibility of giving us an idea of what could happen to the Alberni Valley in the event of a large earthquake or tsunami.

— ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS