We have a big #cheer today for President Obama who created the Atlantic Ocean’s first United States marine monument yesterday, preserving an 4,900-mile expanse of sea canyons and underwater mountains off the New England coast by making it a no-go zone for commercial fishing and other activities. According to the White House, the newly protected zone, which focuses on a section of the lip of the continental shelf near the fishing grounds of Georges Bank, “includes three underwater canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon and four underwater mountains known as ‘seamounts’ that are biodiversity hotspots and home to many rare and endangered species.”
The area along the continental shelf is home to many species of deep-sea coral, sharks, sea turtles, seabirds and deep-diving marine mammals, such as beaked whales and sperm whales. It also boasts massive undersea canyons, as well as seamounts, towering underwater peaks that are higher than any mountains east of the Rockies, rising as much as 7,700 feet from the ocean floor.
As he did last month in creating a new Pacific marine preserve that is now the largest marine set-aside in the world, Obama used the Antiquities Act of 1906, which allows creation of the protected area by decree.
We’re happy to see President Obama taking action for the environment during his final term in the White House and creating a legacy that aims to preserve wildlife for years to come. We are also glad to have the devastating effects of ocean fishing addressed by the Obama administration because the truth is, the planet may never recover from the environmental devastation wrought by commercial fishing. Many fish species once considered infinitely numerous are in grave danger of being hunted to extinction.
In fact, fishing is one of the world’s most wasteful and destructive industries. Every year, more than seven million tons of so-called “by-catch”, (perhaps more accurately described as “by-kill”) is inadvertently caught and killed; including more than 300,000 threatened or endangered sea animals.
The best way to take direct action to protect our oceans? Adopt a vegan lifestyle! We have many resources available on our website to help you get started, including our vegan starter guide and two gourmet vegan cookbooks.