About the Monument

On September 15, 2016, President Barack Obama established the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument by Presidential Proclamation 9496 (81 FR 65159), under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906. The monument is located about 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts and is approximately the size of Connecticut (4,913 square miles). It is the only marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean. The monument protects fragile and largely pristine deep-sea environments alive with marine life. Protecting this unique area as a national monument will safeguard it for future generations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), in the Department of Interior, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in the Department of Commerce, jointly manage the monument.

The monument includes two units. The Seamounts Unit has four undersea mountains - Bear, Mytilus, Physalia, and Retriever seamounts. The Canyons Unit has three undersea canyons – Oceanographer, Lydonia, and Gilbert canyons. Both units include the waters and submerged lands within their respective boundaries.

    map of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument

The monument is renowned for its rich and unique biodiversity, including deep-sea coral communities and concentrations of marine wildlife. Its geographic features create oceanographic conditions that concentrate pelagic or ocean-dwelling animals. The species that frequent the monument include whales, dolphins, and turtles, as well as fishes that migrate long distances, such as tunas, billfish, swordfish, and sharks. A large number of seabirds also rely on this area for foraging, including Atlantic puffins.

    whales breaching in the ocean
    Image courtesy of Zack Klyver