Cashes Ledge: the Gem of New England

Dr. Earle at Cashes Ledge, August 2015

Led by Dr. Sylvia Earle, the Mission Blue team recently returned from a Hope Spot Expedition to Cashes Ledge, a pristine biological hotspot off the coast of New England. It contains Ammen Rock, a peak so tall that it disrupts the Gulf of Maine current, creating massive upwellings of cold nutrient-rich water that fuels an explosion of life from plankton and squid to mackerel, tunas, billfish, sharks, seabirds and what may be the highest diversity of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the North Atlantic, including the iconic sperm whale. The area is home to the largest cold water kelp forest on the Atlantic seaboard and provides a nursery for important New England fish species like cod, pollock, Atlantic halibut, and white hake. Check out the map for a better sense where the Cashes Ledge is located.

Dr. Earle at Cashes Ledge, August 2015. Photo: Kip Evans

Through the expedition, Dr. Earle and Mission Blue Director of Expeditions Kip Evans are working to amplify the efforts of Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Mission Blue and other environmental organizations in calling for permanent full protection of Cashes Ledge. She has also declared Cashes Ledge and the New England Canyons and Seamounts 150 miles off Cape Cod “Hope Spots,” critical marine habitats that, if fully protected, can help return the ocean to a healthy state. Filmmaker Robert Nixon (Gorillas in the Mist, Mission Blue) was on hand to document this conservation-oriented expedition for his new documentary, Blue Centennial. Local Martha’s Vineyard fisherman Captain Buddy Vanderhoop was also there to lend support for the permanent protection of Cashes Ledge and other important areas in New England’s ocean.

“Cashes Ledge is the Yellowstone of the North Atlantic,” said Dr. Earle after returning from the dive. “It is a unique formation, an underwater extension of the —> Read More