Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument


The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is the first Blue Park in the U.S. North Atlantic. Designated in September of 2016, this extraordinary place is located about 150 miles off the coast of Cape Cod and is roughly the size of Connecticut. The Monument features three underwater canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon and four seamounts — extinct volcanoes — that rival the Rocky Mountains in their size and majesty. Now protected from commercial extractive activities, this unique landscape supports an incredible diversity of marine life — including endangered whales, sea turtles, seabirds and fragile deep-sea corals.

Download the Monument Fact Sheet  | Download the Monument Map

Research and Exploration: A Biodiversity Hot-spot!

Mystic Aquarium scientists and partners have explored and conducted pioneering research in this region for decades. A recent, wide-ranging scientific analysis with collaborators at New England Aquarium revealed that this biodiversity hotspot is one of the best remaining examples of an undisturbed ecosystem in the U.S. North Atlantic — making it vital to scientific research, especially in the face of climate change. This “living laboratory” has much to teach us about how nature works in the ocean.

Serengeti of the Sea: Whales, Sea Turtles, and Seabirds -- Oh My

Much like the Serengeti, this is a place where wildlife abounds! Whales, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, tunas and other top oceanic predators feed on an abundance of plankton, small fish and squid — while the surface waters support a tremendous diversity of seabirds. A haven for threatened and protected species, the region supports the Atlantic puffin, deep-diving endangered sperm whales, beaked whales and three species of sea turtles — to name a few.

Photographs are representative of wildlife known to inhabit the Monument

Deep Sea Corals: Beautiful and Fragile

Along the steep sides of the canyons and seamounts, you will find colonies of ancient, vividly colored, cold-water corals. These deep-sea corals are slow-growing and long-lived — some a thousand years and older, as tall as small trees and as thick as forests. Their slow-growing and fragile nature makes them extremely vulnerable to disturbance. As many as 73 different coral species have been identified in the Monument area — some new to science — teaching us that there is much left to discover in the depths of this ocean oasis.

Deep ocean images courtesy of NOAA Ocean Exploration Program and associated scientists

Stand up for Marine Sanctuaries and Monuments

Today an Executive Order threatens to undo the protection of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument and other marine protected areas. You can help by contacting your U.S. Senators and Representatives and asking them to support protection of this place and other special places in the ocean.