Roughly 130 miles southeast of Cape Cod, where the continental shelf drops into the inky, black abyss below, stands the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.
It protects three massive undersea canyons, some deeper than the Grand Canyon, four underwater mountains, and an untold number of marine animals. These mountains rise as high as 7,000 feet above the ocean floor—that’s taller than the highest peaks in the White Mountains. It’s higher than anything east of the Rockies.
The monument is home to animals and habitat types not found in any other marine sanctuary, national park, or U.S. monument. It’s home to many rare and endangered creatures. New species are discovered with each expedition.
The New England Aquarium unequivocally supports the designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument and opposes any efforts to minimize protections for this ecologically important area.
Our Monument, Our Ocean, Our Legacy
by Vikki Spruill, President and CEO, New England Aquarium
Americans live our lives around the pull of the oceans. And nowhere is that more true than in New England.
Along New England’s coast, we make our living from the ocean, plan vacations to enjoy the ocean, and understand that our economic fate is closely tied to a healthy ocean.
This is why we worked to create the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument two years ago. History showed us that we needed to take a longer view and care for our ocean resources if we wanted to bestow this rich heritage on our children. And science told us a national monument was the best way to do this, setting up an oasis off our shores.
“It’s simply impossible to overstate the uniqueness of this habitat and its value as the most protected region in the U.S. Atlantic. And let’s be clear about what it protects: Us. Our way of life. Our values. Our future. The monument should be here to stay. “
- Vikki Spruill
Serengeti of the Sea
Sometimes called the “Serengeti of the sea,” this blue park features more than 100 species of corals and comprises nine different ecosystems. We know this thanks to decades of work from scientists at the New England Aquarium and Mystic Aquarium, and colleagues at partner institutions.
A Monument at Risk
At the moment, the monument is still the most strongly protected area in U.S. Atlantic waters. But the Trump Administration wants to rollback protections—taking a giant step backward. In 2017, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke recommended that President Trump weaken the Monument’s protections, leaving the area vulnerable to damaging extractive industries that want to raid this protected region for their own gains.
Our aerial survey team was amazed by the sheer abundance and diversity of large marine wildlife in the latest aerial survey of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The team documented more than 600 animal sightings in just four hours, including a “superpod” of about 250 common dolphins and a rare sighting of a giant manta ray.