Watch: President Obama Creates the First Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean


Watch Live at 11:00am ET: President Obama Speaks at the 2016 Our Ocean Conference


Today, President Obama is designating the first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean, protecting fragile deep-sea ecosystems off the coast of New England as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.

The new national monument – which encompasses pristine underwater mountains and canyons – will provide critical protections for important ecological resources and marine species, including deep-sea coral and endangered whales and sea turtles. 

Over the past several decades, the nation has made great strides in its stewardship of the ocean, but the ocean faces new threats from varied uses, climate change, and related impacts. Through exploration, we continue to make new discoveries and improve our understanding of ocean ecosystems. In these waters, the Atlantic Ocean meets the continental shelf in a region of great abundance and diversity as well as stark geological relief. The waters are home to many species of deep-sea corals, fish, whales and other marine mammals.

President Obama

 

Just last month, President Obama expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii by 442,781 square miles, creating the world’s largest marine reserve. Today’s designation will protect 4,913 square miles of marine ecosystems with unique geological features that have been the subject of scientific exploration and discovery since the 1970s. To date, President Obama has protected more land and water than any other U.S. president in history. 

President Obama discussed these efforts with legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle at Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Monument. Take a look:

One of the reasons President Obama ran for president was to make sure the U.S. does its part to protect our planet for future generations. Photographers Paul Nicklen, Bo Bridges, and Michael Muller have spent their lifetimes capturing what lies within our oceans, and the beauty we stand to lose if we don't act to combat climate change. Today, they're taking over the White House Instagram. So check out a few of their photos along with their thoughts on the President's latest act in conservation. 

Paul Nicklen photo

“During a feeding frenzy on herring in #Norway, a humpback whale whips its tail across the surface of the water creating a backlit curtain of seawater. I've been documenting both the beauty and the plight of our planet's polar and our world's oceans for twenty years. The commitments of #OurOcean plus President Obama’s embrace of conservation (he's protected over 550M acres of land and water so far, more than any President ever) is positive change in the right direction.” — Paul Nicklen 

 

Michael Muller photo

“I decided to share the focus of my lens between the famous actors, musicians and athletes and our ocean, with sharks in particular. At the onset, I had no idea the number of sharks being killed annually. … Years and tens of thousands of photographs later, I am proud that #OUROCEAN has been created; enabling so many like-minded people to share ideas and strive for solutions to the many crises OUR OCEAN faces today. The time to act is now. No better way to jump start that action than President Obama’s move to protect a slice of ocean off the coast of New England, creating the first-ever marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean.” — Michael Muller
Bo Bridges photo

“Nothing comes close to the size of a Blue Whale. We are constantly learning about the ocean and nothing gets me more excited than jumping in to experience it first-hand.  I’ve been diving and surfing since I was a kid and still have problems explaining the immense beauty and degradation I have seen over the years. I want to help preserve these waters so my kids and their kids, and generations on, can enjoy what I love most. It’s my true connection to the universe.” –Bo Bridges

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