Sperm Whale home on the briny deep, 140 miles southeast of Nantucket, threatened by oil and gas drilling.
Trouble in NE Canyons and Seamounts national park area where cold-water corals thrive and Bear (3,615’), Physalia (6,062’), Mytilus (7,444’), and Retriever (5,967’) Seamounts rise.
Next week the window of opportunity to comment closes. Tell NOAA why the first offshore national park area in the Atlantic Ocean is worth more as a national marine monument than strip-mining the seamounts for rare earth minerals (tellurium) and drilling the canyon walls for oil and gas. Click here to comment.
NOAA is only accepting individual comments. You may sign the letter but we can only submit specific comments. Your name, town and state will be posted and acknowledgement sent to you. Click here to comment before it’s too late.
Personal comments, observations and recounting experiences are of the greatest value. Why is the NE Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument so important to you. Speak to values.
The NE Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument protects 4,913 square miles of marine ecosystems.
The national park area begins about 150 miles southeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
There are three cold-water coral canyons (west to east), Oceanographer Canyon, Gilbert Canyon, and Lydonia Canyon.
There are four deep-water seamounts, Bear Seamount (3,615 ft) on the continental slope (Mt Monadnock 3,165 ft), Physalia Seamount (6,062 ft) on Sohm Abyssal Plain, along with Mytilus Seamount (7,444 ft) and Retriever Seamount (5,967) (Mt Washington is 6,288 ft) further East.
This park contains the most diverse and abundant deep-sea coral communities in the U.S. North Atlantic. Chunks of deep sea corals caught by a trawler working of the west coast of Ireland were found to be 4500 years old. These are ancient seascapes that give refuge to cod, haddock, pollack, hake and redfish.
The underwater canyons that are cleaved into the continental shelf plunge 10,000 feet deep. This is where sperm whales live. I visited the canyons three times in the 1980’s. Leaving Georges Bank astern and cruising out over the canyon, the sea’s face is a deep blue. A large black boxcar-shaped whale surfaces and blows with a distinctive left-listing spout. During all my visits sperm whales were found. However on my last trip the first sperm whale encountered was dead floating on surface, likely from a ship strike. We have got to manage this place better before all the vessels and drones to watch sperm whales arrive.
We are learning from the successful endeavors of the Northeast Regional Ocean Council. Eleven federal representatives, eleven state representatives from the six New England states, and seven tribal nations are actively deliberating with stakeholders, user and interest groups. National Ocean Policy is demonstrating through local workshops and listening session that it takes a nation to manage our ocean.
As a result the NE Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Park is managed in partnership, the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Commerce. They must consult with all other federal agencies with ocean responsibilities.