Statement: Biden to protect New England’s ocean legacy by restoring safeguards for Northeast Canyons and Seamounts

New England monument that’s vital to biodiversity is protected once again
For Immediate Release

PORTLAND, Maine -- President Joe Biden is expected to restore protections Friday for three national monuments. The original protections for the U.S. Atlantic’s only marine monument, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, will be reinstated after being stripped during the Trump administration. The President is also expected to restore the original boundaries for two Utah areas, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, which was designated in 2016 by President Barack Obama, saw its protections rolled back in 2020 when President Donald Trump lifted restrictions on commercial fishing within the monument’s boundaries. Environment Maine highlighted restoring the marine monument in First Things to Fix, a list of Trump-era rollbacks that the Biden administration should reverse to protect our land, air, water and climate.

Following President Biden’s executive action, the area, which is home to dozens of species of deep sea coral and is an important habitat for whales and other marine mammals, will once again be set to become an entanglement-free zone in the Atlantic Ocean’s U.S. boundaries. This decision will also ensure that the marine monument serves as a refuge for species vulnerable to climate change impacts and as a research area to allow for a better understanding of deep sea ocean ecosystems. 

In response, Anya Fetcher, Environment Maine State Director, issued the following statement: 

"There are so many reasons to rejoice over the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, and its cousin monuments out west, once again receiving protection. One of America's most unique and diverse marine ecosystems, this majestic underwater landscape teems with both large and small life. From whales and dolphins to thousand-year-old deep sea coral, this is a biodiversity hotspot, one that deserves protection in perpetuity. 

"Mainers, Indigenous tribes, and all Americans understand and appreciate the overwhelming value in conserving our natural heritage and safeguarding it for future generations. We are so glad to see the president preserve this diverse and important ecosystem at the edge of the continental shelf. This victory will help the U.S. move closer to protecting 30 percent of our important lands and waters."