CSP, CAP partner on an analysis for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument - Conservation Science Partners
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CSP, CAP partner on an analysis for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument

One of CSP’s latest studies quantifies resources within a unique marine national monument that may lose critical protections.

Established in September 2016 by President Obama, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument lies off the coast of New England. This monument supports a unique and exceptionally diverse array of sea life, including sea turtles, endangered whales, seabirds, and at least 73 species of rare deep-sea corals. It also features four seamounts—extinct underwater volcanoes— and three deep sea canyons.

The monument now faces an uncertain future because of recent executive orders that reflect the current administration’s desire to open the area up to energy exploration and production. Although many claims have been made about the ocean resources within the monument, little work has actually been conducted to quantify these resources.

CSP’s Bryan Wallace, Jesse Anderson, and Brett Dickson recently collaborated with the Center for American Progress (CAP) on a study designed to better understand the monument’s resources — more specifically, on an analysis of marine biodiversity, fishing, and offshore energy data within the monument and surrounding area. Using data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and several other sources, we generated a series of maps to document key conditions in the monument:

  • The abundance of various marine species (whales, dolphins, porpoises, puffins, offshore birds, mackerel, and squid)
  • Reported fishing activity
  • Active oil and gas production in the region

The results of our analysis indicate that the area indeed hosts a diverse marine ecosystem with relatively undisturbed habitats, where little commercial fishing has occurred. However, without protection, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is a likely target for oil and gas exploration given the production that is already underway near Nova Scotia.

[READ FULL PUBLICATION] – Big Oil Could Benefit Most from Review of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Monument.