Conservationists are pushing for it, so we may be getting Atlantic’s first marine national monument that would preserve the health of the ecosystem that is yet undamaged within the Golf of Maine. It is a place where aquatic life has been allowed to grow undisturbed, with small tree-sized corals blooming underneath the waters that should be offered protection.
According to Priscilla Brooks from the Conservation Law Foundation, this will be the prime opportunity to protect two important sites before they suffer the human-caused damages that are often spreading throughout the ocean floor.
Both Cashes Ledge, which implies the underwater mountain within the Golf of Maine, and the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts, off the coast of Massachusetts and ranging for 150 miles, are requested for president Barack Obama to approve as ‘marine national monuments’, to be protected against overfishing and meeting stricter regulations.
Marine monuments are areas designated for their scientific, cultural, conservational or aesthetic value, to be outside the limits of fisheries or other exploratory industries that might want to delve into their depths.
So far, four of them have been named by president George W. Bush in the Pacific Ocean that cover around 330,000 square miles of the ocean, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The proposed areas total 6,000 square miles that have yet not been spoiled by humans and developing industries, which now environmentalists are seeking to properly protect. There are regulations already in place that ban the most damaging types of fishing, such as throwing a net to the bottom and scraping everything in its path.
However, according to brooks, these temporary protection measures are “tenuous at best”, and that “there are some places that need to be protected forever”, which is why they are making an appeal to protect the underwater mountains and deep sea canyons.
Scientist have found Cashes Ledge, for example, to be the flawless template of an undisturbed underwater environment that beautifully displays biodiversity, waters rich in nutrients and the deepest kelp forest within the entire Gulf of Maine.
It shows perfectly how the gulf has managed to withstand and evolve through time, and thus, can be a valuable tool in understanding how to respond to environmental threats, such as climate change.
Fishermen and industries do not agree with the potential ban in the area, though, who believe that excluding them from the waters would drastically harm the economy, and that preventive measures are already set in place. They’re simply not as strict as conservationists would want, so the matter is still to be decided.
Image source: noaanews.noaa.gov