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Today marks the 4th birthday of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument which was created by President Obama in 2016. The monument is the first fully protected marine area in the US Atlantic Ocean and is special because it home to precious marine ecosystems and species like fragile deep-sea corals, diverse schools of fish and endangered species, including the North Atlantic right whale.
This is truly a precious marine ecosystem and as Maya Earles wrote for Bloomberg Law, “the Trump administration’s June announcement that the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument would be open to commercial fishing triggered a lawsuit by the Conservation Law Foundation, the Center for Biological Diversity, and others.”
Despite Trump’s actions, this is a milestone worth celebrating! The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts should serve as an example of how we can protect even more marine areas around the United States and do our part to protect 30% of nature by 2030.
The Background: As the Washington Post reported, this past June the Trump administration announced that fishing could resume at the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of New England. The Obama administration closed off nearly 5,000 square miles of ocean in September 2016 to save whales and allow marine life to recover from overfishing. The controversial decision was praised by conservationists and challenged by commercial fishermen from the start.
The Creatures:Get to know what we’re fighting for when we seek to expand protections for Northeast Canyons and Seamounts. For instance, as CLF explained, sperm whales are endangered, with only about 2,300 of them remaining in the North Atlantic. But they find refuge in the monument, away from harmful commercial fishing gear that can entangle and kill these iconic whales.
Image: Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium
by Dr. Gareth Lawson The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument holds a special place in my heart. This monument, designated by President Obama four years ago this week, protects crucial marine habitats for incredible species, from whales to corals, along the edge of the New England continental shelf. Unfortunately, this monument is currently […]
The New York Times reported late last week that federal prosecutors are pressing charges against a ring of a dozen people and two businesses on opposite coasts for running a multimillion-dollar organization involved in international money laundering, drug trafficking, and illegal wildlife trade in shark fins.
Why This Matters: As the World Wildlife Fund reports, around 100 million sharks may be killed annually for their fins and many are sold on the black market. Illegal wildlife trafficking is growing because international criminal networks are able to exploit weaknesses and gaps in international law enforcement.
One thing Democrats and Republicans in many southern states seem to agree on is that they don’t want oil and gas drilling off their coastlines. The Hill reported that last week the State of North Carolina sued the federal government for its continuing to prepare for offshore leasing in the Atlantic just off their coast. And in Florida, while President Trump has promised that he will not pursue oil and gas drilling there, even outgoing Republican Congressman Francis Rooney is worried about the President going back on his word if he is re-elected.
Why This Matters: The President’s fossil fuel commitments are hard to deny, even as he promises Florida a reprieve.
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