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Statement of Lance Morgan, President of Marine Conservation Institute on President Trump’s Attempt to Incapacitate the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine Monument

For Immediate Release

Friday, June 5, 2020

Lance Morgan, 707-217-8242 (cell)

Mike Gravitz, 301-351-5052 (cell)

[Glen Ellen, CA] Last Friday President Trump proclaimed June as National Ocean Month, saying that, “… we reaffirm our commitment to responsible stewardship of our ocean resources…..and ensuring that the natural beauty and wonder of the oceans are preserved and maintained for future generations.” This Friday, just before World Oceans Day on Monday, President Trump made a mockery of that proclamation by removing the only real protection that matters for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts monument – a gradual phase out of all industrial fishing in monument waters.. Without protection from industrial fishing, bottom trawling, crabbing and other extraction, the New England canyons and seamounts monument becomes nothing more than a paper park.

Marine Conservation Institute specializes in identifying, advocating for, and monitoring the health of marine protected areas around the world. Our founder, Dr. Elliott Norse, first identified the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts as worthy of more research and protection in the mid-1990’s. Many organizations worked with the Obama administration and all stakeholders to bring about the protection of the awe inspiring marine mammals, delicate deep-sea corals and sponges, and other marine life in this area.

As the first and only marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts was carefully selected for its special biological value and representativeness. Provisions were made for the slow phase out of industrial activity there over a seven year period, giving the small crab and lobster fishery time and opportunity to utilize other areas.

According to our Marine Protection Atlas ( the marine monument is 5,000 square miles, representing a small sliver, just a few percent, of New England waters.

If we cannot actively conserve unique places off of America’s east coast for future generations, what kind of stewards of the natural world are we? Why can’t we preserve a few places in our oceans from extraction and leave them alone for spectacular and awe inspiring marine life to survive and grow there. In a fit of irony and hypocrisy, why must our President take this action just two days before the world celebrates its oceans on World Oceans Day?


Marine Conservation Institute, founded in 1996, works in the U.S. and globally to seek strong protection for 30% of the ocean by 2030—for us and future generations. Our focus on protecting the ocean’s most important places follows several lines of work: identifying and advocating for strong marine protected areas; improving laws and other tools to better conserve marine biodiversity; catalyzing effective conservation by recognizing and elevating the best marine protected areas as Blue Parks; and accurately reporting on conservation efforts with our Marine Protection Atlas (

About Marine Conservation Institute