August 5, 2016
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) this week announced a campaign to designate the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts as the first-ever Atlantic marine national monument. The campaign will be led by the full Connecticut Congressional delegation, which released a letter as part of the announcement that urges President Barack Obama to use his authority to preserve and protect the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts as a unique environmental treasure.
The announcement adds additional momentum to the push by groups like Creation Justice Ministries, American Fly Fishing Trade Association, and Sea Research Foundation/Mystic Aquarium which have been leading the effort to establish New England’s Coral Canyons and Seamonts as a marine national monument. Under the plan, this area would be protected from damaging commercial activity that threatens to inflict irreversible damage on these unique ecosystems. In addition, the measure would also set in place protections to make the ocean more resilient to the threats posed by man-made climate change while also supporting businesses that are reliant on the health of the ocean.
New England’s Coral Canyons and Seamonts are located about 150 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. Its waters contain a large concentrations of plankton as well as squid and other forage organisms that provide a banquet for marine mammals, including the iconic sperm whale, seabirds, sea turtles and an array of fish. Despite, its diverse ecosystem, much of this area remains unexplored. Scientists believe the area may hold new species and has major promise for the treatment of human diseases, including potential to prevent or cure cancer or Alzheimer’s Disease.
“Religious communities have been active in the campaign to protect New England’s Coral Canyons and Seamounts throughout this year, and we are thrilled with Senator Blumenthal’s much needed support for the cause. We stand ready to continue to support the effort,” says Shantha Ready Alonso of the Creation Justice Ministries.
Photo credit: Photos and video provided by NOAA