There is a Proposal for a National Marine Sanctuary in Our Backyard: Hudson Canyon
What is a National Marine Sanctuary?
- Under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries protects areas of the marine environment which feature, but are not limited to, unique conservation, aesthetic, recreational, ecological, cultural/historical, educational, scientific, or recreational qualities.
- Currently, there are 13 national marine sanctuaries and 1 national marine monument, encompassing an area of more than 738,000 square miles, from Massachusetts to the Florida Keys to American Samoa!
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) administers the 13 sanctuaries, and oversee the nomination and designation processes of additional sites
Is there a National Marine Sanctuary near New York City? Not yet, but…
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is leading a proposal to nominate Hudson Canyon as a National Marine Sanctuary!
- Hudson Canyon is the largest submarine canyon off of the U.S. Atlantic Coast, and one of the largest submarine canyons in the world!
- By the numbers:
- 100 miles southeast of New York City, stretching to 350 miles offshore
- 7.5 miles wide at its widest point
- Its deepest point is 10,500 feet below sea level, and its canyon walls can reach 3,500 feet!
- Over 100 marine species call the Canyon home
How? Through the sanctuary nomination process!
- NOAA recently launched a new, grassroots-driven nomination process to allow a community’s development of a nomination to protect specific areas of marine or Great Lakes waters.
- Nominations are comprehensive and must include key information about the site and how its various qualities meet the criteria of a National Marine Sanctuary
- WCS’s New York Aquarium spearheaded, developed, and submitted a nomination to NOAA for their consideration of Hudson Canyon as a potential National Marine Sanctuary
- For more information on the nomination process, visit: http://www.nominate.noaa.gov/
How does a National Marine Sanctuary align with Surfrider Foundation’s Goals and Campaigns in NYC?
- Surfrider Foundation’s long-term campaigns against seismic testing, wildlife disturbance, and offshore fossil fuel development would enjoy major support from the designation of a National Marine Sanctuary
- National Marine Sanctuaries do not prohibit commercial or recreational fishing, but rather enhance the long-term health and sustainability of valuable fisheries
- National Marine Sanctuaries provide unique opportunities for agencies and organizations to collaborate on marine conservation issues
- A National Marine Sanctuary designation in Hudson Canyon would recognize and protect the Canyon’s ecological integrity for future generations of both the humans and marine species who rely upon it for a wide range of ecosystem services
- Sanctuaries prohibit several activities that are harmful to marine life, including:
- Discharging of materials into sanctuary waters
- Disturbance, construction, or alteration of the seabed
- Oil, mineral, and gas exploration
- Disturbance of marine life by aircraft, vessels, personal watercraft, anchoring, and mining
Want to learn more about Hudson Canyon or read the nomination proposal?