Watch: Support for a New England Marine Monument Is Strong and Diverse

Watch: Support for a New England Marine Monument Is Strong and Diverse

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, I sat in a packed conference room in Providence, Rhode Island, for a town hall-style meeting on a proposal to create the United States’ first national marine monument in Atlantic waters. Less than two weeks earlier, more than 600 people filled an auditorium at the New England Aquarium in Boston for a similar event to learn about the special places that would be permanently protected if the president designated this historic monument: Cashes Ledge in the Gulf of Maine and the coral canyons and seamounts in deep waters east of Cape Cod.   

Public enthusiasm for this proposal has been remarkable—more than 160,000 people have already voiced support. (You can join them here.) But it’s not just the number of people calling on the president to make this designation that impresses me; it’s also the diversity: business owners, elected leaders, fishermen, scientists, educators, birders, and faith groups are just some of the sectors represented in the public comments in favor of this marine monument. 

Many of the people who submitted comments are featured in the following videos, which were provided by the Conservation Law Foundation. They also offer a glimpse of the underwater wonders at stake and the reasons so many people care so deeply about protecting them.

Protecting Whales

The scientists who study New England’s endangered whales and the tour operators who take thousands of people to see these massive, graceful animals know that Cashes Ledge and the coral canyons offer crucial habitat for marine mammals. This video features naturalist Zack Klyver of Maine’s Bar Harbor Whale Watch and whale expert Scott Kraus of the New England Aquarium. 

Watch the video

Helping Fish and Fishermen

Many fishermen and researchers know that protecting these rich ecosystems will help depleted fish populations rebound. Here, Brown University biology professor Jon Witman and retired Maine fisherman Craig Pendleton explain how wise stewardship can result in more fish both in and outside the protected waters.

Watch the video

Supporting Coastal Businesses

Berl Hartman of the business group Environmental Entrepreneurs says the coastal economy—including an estimated 230,000 jobs—depends on a healthy ocean. In this video, she’s joined by Jamie Mathison, a Massachusetts small-business owner, and Rob Moir, who directs the Ocean River Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Watch the video

Protecting Deep-Sea Corals

Explorations of the canyons and seamounts continue to reveal more gardens of deep-sea corals. These fantastic structures can live for millennia, but as marine ecologist Peter Auster explains in this video, the corals are also very fragile.

Watch the video

Dr. Auster is a senior research scientist at the Mystic Aquarium, which recently joined the New England Aquarium and more than 220 other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in a letter supporting the monument designation. It’s not too late to add your voice; officials are still taking comments on this exciting proposal. I urge you let them know why these ocean treasures deserve permanent protection.

The front facade of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.
ian-hutchinson-U8WfiRpsQ7Y-unsplash.jpg_master

Agenda for America

A collection of resources to help federal, state, and local decision-makers set an achievable agenda for all Americans

Quick View

Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest. In the coming months, President Joe Biden and the 117th Congress will tackle a number of environmental, health, public safety, and fiscal and economic issues—nearly all of them complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help solve specific, systemic problems in a nonpartisan fashion, Pew has compiled a series of briefings and recommendations based on our research, technical assistance, and advocacy work across America.

Lightbulbs
Lightbulbs

States of Innovation

Data-driven state policy innovations across America

Quick View

Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for difficult challenges. When states serve their traditional role as laboratories of innovation, they increase the American people’s confidence that the government they choose—no matter the size—can be effective, responsive, and in the public interest.