The US has designated its first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean in an effort to protect deep-sea eco-systems off the coast of New England, in an area that has been dubbed an “underwater Yellowstone”.
Today, the @whitehouse designated the first marine national monument in the #Atlantic Ocean, protecting fragile deep-sea ecosystems off the coast of New England as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The designation protects several canyons and seamounts that we mapped and explored via #NOAA Ship #OkeanosExplorer in 2013 and 2014. We encountered this #octopus on October 1, 2014, at the end of the first-ever submersible dive on Physalia Seamount, one of the seamounts that is now protected by the newly established Monument. #OurOcean #ocean #explore #oceanlife #NewEngland #marineprotectedarea #marinemonument
The area, which will be named the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, includes underwater mountains and canyons and “will provide critical protections for important ecological resources and marine species, including deep-sea coral and endangered whales and sea turtles,” according to a White House statement. Media reports have compared the area to an underwater version of the country’s most famous national park, Yellowstone.
Just got word of some awesome news that the White House just declared the first marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean. Located off the coast of Cape Cod, this designated area will protect 4,913 square miles for marine habitat. An awesome win for our oceans. Click the link in bio to read more about it! Thanks Obama 💙🐠🐬🐳🐋🌊 #marinemonument #capecod #saveourseas #marineconservation #OurOcean #ActOnClimate
A photo posted by The Ocean’s Keeper (@theoceanskeeper) on Sep 15, 2016 at 11:25am PDT
The newly protected area is the first in America’s Atlantic waters. It is described as containing three underwater canyons that are deeper than the Grand Canyon, as well as four underwater mountains that are home to rare and endangered species, such as sperm, fin, and sei whales and Kemp’s ridley turtles. The Department of the Interior explained that the undersea mountains are called Bear, Mytilus, Physalia, and Retriever, and the canyons are named Oceanographer, Lydonia, and Gilbert. The area is located about 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod and contains deep-sea coral eco-systems.
The IUCN’s World Conservation Congress, the largest conservation conference in the world, is taking place from September 2-5 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Follow @sanctuaries on #Twitter this week to keep tabs on the conference and learn more about what NOAA is doing to help understand and protect vital #ocean inhabitants. In this image, a juvenile green sea turtle underneath the Midway Island Pier in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Photo credit: Greg McFall #ocean #Hawaii #Conservation #IUCNCongress #Environment #turtle
A photo posted by NOAA National Ocean Service (@noaaocean) on Sep 2, 2016 at 10:07am PDT
This decision comes shortly after the US moved to expand the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii by 442,781 square miles, creating the world’s largest marine protected area.