Today, President Biden signed an executive order that reinstates protections for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of New England, as well as the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah. This action reverses the former rollbacks by President Trump, restoring the protections for these monuments.
The marine monument, which is roughly the size of Connecticut, is the first of its kind in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean and was first established by President Obama in 2016 to protect vulnerable deep-sea coral and sponge gardens from destructive fishing methods. This monument includes diverse corals and sponges on the seafloor, serves as a nursery for commercially important fish species, and is home to critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.
Oceana senior campaign manager Gib Brogan released the following statement in response to the announcement:
“The United States—and New England—has its marine monument back, and ocean life in these New England waters are safer because of it. Protecting the New England marine monument is a win-win for both fishermen and healthy oceans, sustaining strong fisheries for years to come. President Biden not only restored these monuments today, he restored hope that our environment will be protected from both political attacks and environmental threats.
By permanently prohibiting destructive fishing in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts and reinstating the protections, the hundreds of marine mammals that swim there will have reduced risk in the monument, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. From the corals on the seafloor to the dolphins swimming on the surface thousands of feet above, the protections for the New England marine monument support an array of marine wildlife as well as productive fisheries and healthy oceans in New England.”