Ocean Protection, Marine Protected Areas
June 08 2017

The Atlantic’s Only Marine Monument is Under Threat!

by Katie Day

The Trump Administration has placed the Atlantic Ocean’s first and only Marine National Monument, established by authority of the Antiquities Act in September 2016, under review. The recent Executive Order puts the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, along with dozens of other federal monuments, at risk of losing protection of their unique and vital environments. This review process, driven by the administration's interest in expanding unnecessary and dangerous offshore energy development, could degrade long term benefits to fisheries and local economies and is against the wishes of the American people.

The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is located roughly 150 miles off the coast of Cape Cod in the Gulf of Maine, and is home to rare underwater treasures, including deep sea canyons that plunge to depths greater than 7,000 feet (1,000 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon!) and astounding seamounts (which rise higher from the seafloor than any mountain east of the Rockies!), creating unique habitats that support tremendous biodiversity and fragile ecosystems.

Surfrider Chapters in the Northeast worked with a core coalition of environmental nonprofits, communities, and citizens who championed this effort to create the first ever Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean to permanently protect three canyons and four seamounts. This highly supported designation was intended to protect these special areas from threats like overfishing and mining while maintaining the integrity of the ecosystem as well as superb recreational opportunities for low impact enjoyments.

As the nation’s largest representative of non-consumptive coastal recreation users, the Surfrider Foundation will continue to fight to protect our nation's outstanding marine protected areas through national advocacy and regional campaigns with partners. Please join us in this effort by submitting your comments in support of the Antiquities Act and Marine Monuments before the July 10th deadline, and participate in our “Monumental Monday” event on June 12th.

You can help us protect these special marine and terrestrial areas!

1) Submit comments to the Department of the Interior's public comment portal by clicking here and entering "DOI-2017-0002 " in the search bar. For the strongest impact, be sure to mention:

  • These monuments protect extremely sensitive, rare, and biologically diverse ecosystems and land formations hundreds of years in the making, thus providing significant historic and scientific interest.
  • Protection of these areas allows for added use and enjoyment of areas both within and outside of monument boundaries, especially for recreational purposes.
  • Protected areas provide continued economic and fiscal support to local states, tribes, and communities through increased tourism, recreation, and long term fisheries management (with respect to marine monuments).
  • As a public constituent, you SUPPORT the continued protection of these National Monuments and feel that there was adequate public outreach and coordination during their designation and expansion.
  • Protection of these magnificent treasures ignites a strong sense of national pride, and promotes domestic travel and tourism within our own country.

2) Participate in “Monumental Monday” on June 12th by calling the Department of Interior at (202) 208-7351 in support of our nation’s monuments. Please tell them to protect Marine Monuments including the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. You can also share Surfrider Foundation’s social media posts on Monumental Monday to raise awareness about the issue and urge people to take action.

You can help protect our coasts from every threat they face.

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