Aquarium mounts letter-writing campaign to oppose President Trump’s rollback of protections for Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument

BOSTON, MASS. (June 8, 2020) – In response to President Trump’s decision to rescind protections for the 4,900-square-mile Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument last week, the New England Aquarium has launched an online letter-writing campaign for the public to voice opposition to their elected officials in Washington.

Located about 130 miles southeast off Cape Cod, the Monument is home to hundreds of remarkable species including dolphins – sometimes in pods by the thousands – fin whales, rare blue and beaked whales, sea turtles, and endangered sperm whales. The area consists of three massive undersea canyons – often likened to an underwater Grand Canyon – that cut through the continental shelf and four underwater seamounts that were formed millions of years ago by volcanic activity. Aquarium scientists conduct aerial surveys of the vast, pristine Monument and discover new and rare animals with every deep-sea exploration.

The Aquarium was actively involved in the preservation of the Monument when it was designated in 2016 by President Obama. The Monument is the only protected marine area in the Atlantic Ocean and is considered vital to marine conservation on the East Coast. Fishing has not been adversely affected by the designation as landings of economically significant species have increased since 2016, not decreased.

After Trump announced his decision to roll back the protections in Maine on June 5, the Aquarium issued a statement in opposition. “The Trump Administration has chosen a moment of national vulnerability to take aim at the environment, this time by rolling back protections of the only national marine monument in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument,” said the Aquarium’s President & CEO Vikki N. Spruill. “Our research at the ocean surface, together with our partners’ research under the water, shows us what a special place this is. We know that strong protections of marine and terrestrial environments are needed if we are to nurture a vibrant and sustainable planet for future generations. We also know that the Monument has not negatively impacted fisheries in the region since its designation in 2016. Today’s announcement from the Trump Administration is irresponsible and shortsighted.”

In addition to the digital letter, supporters can also print out and send a letter to their U.S. Senator or Representative using this guide at NEAq.org.

The New England Aquarium is the only organization that regularly conducts aerial surveys of the Monument. Here is a link to photos from researchers’ survey in February 2020. Please credit NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM on all images.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Pam Bechtold Snyder, psnyder@neaq.org; 617-686-5068