Conservation Groups to Highlight Importance of Marine National Monument

Fan coral in Oceanographer Canyon. Image courtesy of Northeast Canyons 2013 Science Team/NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program.

PROVINCETOWN – Two conservation groups will discuss the effects of revoking New England’s Marine National Monument designation tonight in Provincetown.

The Conservation Law Foundation and the Center for Coastal Studies will discuss the scientific and ecological importance of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument and why it’s important to ensure its protection.

The monument is located about 150 miles off Cape Cod and covers 4,193 square miles of marine ecosystems which range from underwater mountains, to trenches deeper than the Grand Canyon.

“We want to just make sure people understand the uniqueness and the value of this area, learn more about it and see some from very dramatic photographs and video footage,” said Richard Delaney, the CEO of the Center for Coastal Studies.

Delaney will presenter a broad view of Marine Protected Areas worldwide as a means to safeguard and manage ocean resources.

The monument was created by President Barack Obama last fall before he left office and is now under review by the Trump Administration.

“Hopefully [the event] will impress people enough to continue to support it because right now there is some talk in the new administration of reducing or removing the declaration and the protection the monument brings,” Delaney said.

The area off George’s Bank has been known as a rich fishery and Delaney said protecting the monument will help ensure that remains.

“In order to have a rich fishery you have to have a rich ecosystem,” Delaney said. “It means having a diversity of other natural resources and in this case some unusual ones people don’t think about here – corals, structures, seamounts and so forth.”

Delaney said if people come and learn about the area they will see the value, both environmental and economic, of protecting the monument.

The event is at 5:30 p.m. at the Center for Coastal Studies Hiebert Marine Laboratory on Holway Avenue in Provincetown.

To register for the event, email [email protected] or call 508-487-3622 extension 103.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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