The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts were designated as a Marine National Monument in 2016. This national treasure consists of five underwater canyons and four mountains, or seamounts. Its unique geological landscape is the only one of its kind in U.S. Atlantic waters, and it carries tremendous ecological value. Unfortunately, this underwater wonder is one of several protected areas in jeopardy of being opened to industry as part of the federal government’s attack on National Monuments.
An Underwater Marvel
This rare underwater monument is located about 150 miles off Cape Cod, and it covers an area about the size of the State of Connecticut. Its three largest canyons are deeper than the Grand Canyon, and its seamounts are higher than any mountain peak east of the Colorado Rockies.
This deep-water region is a hotspot for an incredible abundance of sea life, including rare, centuries old corals, squid, finfish and marine mammals. A 2018 aerial survey observed more than 600 whales and dolphins feeding in the area. Some whale species documented in the monument include endangered sperm whales and the rare North Atlantic right whale. These ocean canyons have even become a fertile breeding ground for plankton and forage fish, which may help squid and tuna fisheries outside of the monument.
Marine Science Opportunities Abound
The Northeast Ocean Canyons and Seamounts are protected against offshore drilling, commercial fishing, and other activities that can adversely impact the marine ecosystem—although scientific research is permitted. The rich diversity of sea life there makes the area a virtual treasure trove for marine biologists seeking to study sea life in an environment untouched by human disturbances. More than 950 different marine species have been identified within the monument, and new species are discovered with each expedition. If protected, the monument can provide us with valuable marine science data for generations to come!
Threats from Washington
The U.S. Dept. of Interior has recommended rolling back protections for the monument, along with dozens of others across the United States. Additionally, pressure from the commercial fishing industry to lift the fishing ban in the monument has grown in recent years, and some members of congress have signaled their support for easing restrictions in this area. Rolling back protections could reintroduce the threat of offshore drilling, commercial fishing, and other harmful activities in and around the monument.
Protect Our Marine National Monument: Tell Congress to Support the Antiquities Act of 2019
The Antiquities Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Roosevelt in 1906. It gives the president the authority to create national monuments on public lands that are deemed to have significant cultural, scientific, and conservation value. The Antiquities Act of 2019 would strengthen protections for national monuments by clarifying that no national monument designation can be undone without an act of congress. Additionally, it creates a National Monument Enhancement Fund that can be used for maintaining and enhancing national monuments protected under this act.
Congress must fight to maintain protections our marine national monument, but they need to know Connecticut and New York residents care about our ocean canyons and seamounts!
Contact your U.S. Senators today:
Senator Richard Blumenthal
Senator Christopher Murphy
In New York State:
Senator Charles Schumer
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Feel free to cut and paste the following message in your message to CT Senators:
I am writing to express my strong support for protecting the Northeast Canyons & Seamounts National Monument, and to urge you to keep this natural treasure protected. Please cosponsor and support passage of the Antiquities Act of 2019, which ensures that no president can undo protections on our National Monuments without approval of Congress.
Our Ocean Canyons and Seamounts are a virtual treasure trove of rare and endangered marine species. Congress must act to ensure this underwater marvel remains protected for generations to come!
Thank you for your consideration. Please respond in writing with your position.