Obama Launches First Marine Monument

US President Barack Obama designated the country’s first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean that aims to protect fragile deep-sea ecosystems off the coast of New England.

The new marine preserve, known as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, will protect 12,725 square km of ecosystems encompassing three underwater canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon, and four underwater mountains.

It will provide habitat for protected species such as sea turtles and marine mammals, including endangered sperm, fin, and sei whales and Kemp’s ridley turtles.

Obama last month expanded the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii by 1.1 million square km, creating the world’s largest marine protected area.