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

Media Contacts
Ben Hellerstein

Former State Director, Environment Massachusetts

Environment Massachusetts

BOSTON — President Joe Biden is expected to restore protections today for three national monuments, including the U.S. Atlantic’s only marine monument, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts.

These protections 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 Massachusetts 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, Ben Hellerstein, state director for Environment Massachusetts, issued the following statement:

“Our country has a long history of ensuring ‘America the Beautiful’ exists for generations to come. By restoring safeguards to the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts and its fellow monuments out west, we can rest assured that these treasured areas will remain a part of that lasting legacy. Because all three of these monuments protect biodiversity and critical habitat, this victory will help the United States move closer to protecting 30 percent of our important lands and waters.

“The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts is an ocean wonder. 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. We are so glad to see the president safeguard this diverse and important ecosystem at the edge of the continental shelf.”