Safeguarding Our Marine Jewels

Scientists, aquariums, conservationists and coastal businesses are calling on President Obama to create the first National Marine Monument in the U.S. Atlantic, which would protect a vibrant suite of undersea features, including undersea canyons, deep ocean seamounts, and a rich kelp forest in the Gulf of Maine.

Designating these areas as a National Marine Monument would permanently protect them from commercial-extractive activities, help ensure the health and biodiversity of the region’s ocean waters for generations to come, and sustain the diverse fisheries that are so important to New England’s thriving marine economy and rich cultural heritage.

The Gulf of Maine’s Cashes Ledge Closed Area is home to an underwater mountain range, the peaks, ridges, basins and plains of which serve as a critical habitat for an astonishing array of ocean wildlife. The highest peak in the range, known as Ammen Rock, is home to the deepest and largest remaining cold-water kelp forest along the Atlantic seaboard.

The area is habitat for New England’s iconic cod, as well as migrating schools of bluefin tuna, sea turtles, blue and basking sharks, passing pods of highly endangered North Atlantic right whales, and foraging seabirds. Its rugged features and long-term protection from bottom trawling and dredging lead many scientists to believe that the Cashes Ledge Area represents the best remaining example of an undisturbed Gulf of Maine ecosystem, historically one of the richest and most diverse in the world.

The New England Coral Canyon and Seamounts Area is composed of five undersea canyons off the southern New England coast and four nearby seamounts — the only ones in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean, which together support a remarkable richness and diversity of ocean life. The seamounts (Bear, Mytilus, Physalia and Retriever) and the submarine canyons (Oceanographer, Lydonia, Gilbert, Nygren and Heezen) are home to —> Read More