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Undersea canyon gains new protections

Words by Smiley Team

Much of the fear of the future is centered on climate change, pollution, and the ways that it may impact aspects of our lives.

As pollution and global warming continue, things like coral bleaching, and the acidification of the ocean will only make life harder for sea creatures. Now, as that problem becomes more prevalent, places are looking for ways to protect their water – like a canyon off the coast of New York.

The Hudson Canyon is the largest underwater canyon along the U.S. Atlantic Coast. It's about 100 miles out from the New York and New Jersey shores and can be 2.5 miles deep and up to 7.5 miles wide at points.

It serves as a habitat for a handful of animals ranging from sperm whales, sea turtles, and deep-sea corals. And now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is looking to protect it by establishing it as a new national marine sanctuary, which would make implementing conservation programs much easier. 

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“A sanctuary near one of the most densely populated areas of the Northeast U.S. would connect diverse communities across the region to the ocean and the canyon in new and different ways," said NOAA Administrator, Rick Spinrad. 

“It would also help advance the administration’s commitment to conserve and restore special marine places, leaving a lasting legacy for future generations. As someone who grew up in New York City and went on to a career in ocean science, I'm excited about how this amazing underwater environment can inspire shared interest in conserving our ocean.”

Protecting the area would serve to support the local ecosystem and even the economy on land as it provides sources for recreational fisheries, recreational diving, whale-watching, and birding.

If the proposal is completed, it will also serve to help President Biden to reach his 30×30 agenda to conserve 30% of territorial waters and lands of the U.S. by 2030, and powers set by the National Marine Sanctuaries Act allow NOAA to designate and protect areas of the ocean and Great Lakes with special national significance.

“Hudson Canyon could serve as a sentinel site for NOAA to monitor the impacts of climate change on submarine canyons and other deep-sea benthic habitats, which are vulnerable to the effects of ocean acidification and oxygen depletion,” added Nicole LeBoeuf, director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. 

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: If you want to support an organization helping protect sea creatures, the Marine Megafauna Foundation helps support some of the largest creatures in the sea. 

SUPPORT: Explore the ocean, go to the beach, and get a figure for the creatures there and what it's like. Then do what you can to support your local waterways like limiting your plastic consumption and cleaning litter when you can.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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