Obama Creates First Marine National Monument in Atlantic Ocean
U.S. President Barack Obama announced on September 15th the creation of the first national marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean, preserving nearly 5,000 square miles of underwater canyons and mountains off the coast of New England, a northeastern region of the U.S.
"Over the past several decades, the nation has made great strides in its stewardship of the ocean, but the ocean faces new threats from varied uses, climate change, and related impacts," the presidential proclamation said. (Photo: VOA)
The president signed a proclamation designating the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument as protected shrines, resulting in a ban on commercial fishing, mining and drilling. A seven year exception will be made, however, for the lobster and red crab industries. Water temperatures in the area, about the size of the northeastern state of Connecticut, are expected to get warmer much more quickly than the global average.
The announcement comes as a conference on protecting the ocean began September 15th in Washington. It will be attended by leaders from more than 20 countries who will announce the creation of their own marine protected areas.
"By designating the coral canyons and seamounts a new national monument, President Obama is giving this part of the ocean a fighting chance to continue to thrive in the face of a warming climate," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.
Conservation Law Foundation president Bradley Campbell said: "From valleys deeper than the Grand Canyon, to peaks as high as Mount Washington, to the hundreds of perse and endangered species that call this place home, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts is the embodiment of a treasure worthy of such permanent protection."
Obama's creation of the national marine monument will be the 27th time he has created or expanded a national monument. It comes two weeks after he expanded a monument in the Pacific Ocean near the northwestern Hawaiian Islands./.
( VNF/VOA )