MYSTIC AQUARIUM LAUDS PRESIDENT OBAMA
FOR MARINE NATIONAL MONUMENT DESIGNATION IN ATLANTIC
Recognizing Research done by Mystic Aquarium’s Dr. Peter Auster
Mystic, Conn. (September 14, 2016): Today, after decades of research by Mystic Aquarium’s research scientist Dr. Peter Auster and the prolonged and dedicated efforts of the Protect New England Treasures Coalition, President Obama designated the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument as the first Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean.
“We praise President Obama for this historic decision to designate the first Atlantic Marine National Monument,” said Mystic Aquarium President and CEO, Stephen M. Coan. “And we thank the Connecticut delegation for taking a leading role in this all-important issue.”
Earlier this year, Dr. Auster with colleague Dr. Scott Kraus of New England Aquarium released compelling science demonstrating this place as especially rich in habitats and a hot-spot for marine life.
“As a scientist I certainly look forward to all that we will learn from this area, protected in perpituity, but the President’s action today is so much more than that,” said Dr. Peter Auster. “It is a gift to the American people, to all of humanity. This ocean wilderness and all of the wildlife it contains will inspire young and old with the wonders of the sea, of the deep sea regions of the Earth, for current and future generations to come.”
Located 150 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, along the southern edge of Georges Bank, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is comprised of a system of massive undersea canyons and submerged volcanoes. Supporting an extraordinary array of ocean wildlife, the area is home to unusually high concentrations of whales, dolphins, sea turtles, birds and colorful deep sea corals, some estimated to be more than 1,000 years old. In its deeper reaches dwell a bizarre and strange cast of deep sea creatures, from deep sea fish to bioluminescent jellies, to eerily waving fields of sea pens.
“This is a vital frontier for scientific exploration, with expeditions revealing more each year,” continued Coan. “It’s designation as a Marine National Monument gives our children and grandchildren the opportunity to continue to study and learn from this truly spectacular living laboratory for generations to come.”
This designation fully protects an area comparable to the state of Connecticut. But it’s about more than quantity – the monument has many high-quality areas for habitat and marine life. Protected places increase resilience to climate change and are especially important in places already experiencing the effects, like New England’s waters.
“Evidence from all around the world demonstrates that ecological communities and populations of organisms are more resilient to the impacts of climate change when protected from direct human disturbances,” added Auster.
About Mystic Aquarium
Mystic Aquarium, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, is counted among the nation’s leading aquariums with more than 300 species and an extensive collection of marine mammals, including New England’s only belugas. Mystic Aquarium has been a pioneer in offering guests a variety of up close encounters with a wide range of marine animals. The mission of Mystic Aquarium is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through conservation, education and research. Mystic Aquarium receives major support from The Coca-Cola Company, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Resorts World Sentosa and United Technologies Corporation. Learn more at MysticAquarium.org.