Center for American Progress

RELEASE: The Time is Now to Preserve Ocean Ecosystems Off of U.S. Coast
Press Release

RELEASE: The Time is Now to Preserve Ocean Ecosystems Off of U.S. Coast

Washington, D.C. — Since 2006, more than 330,000 square miles of America’s oceans have been protected from all industrial activities by the use of the Antiquities Act. Areas in the Pacific roughly the size of Texas and Oklahoma combined have been designated marine national monuments and the countless species of fish, seabirds, and marine mammals that inhabit those areas have been protected. Unfortunately, no ocean area connected to the continental United States has ever enjoyed such a distinction.

The Center for American Progress has released a column calling on the president to use his remaining time in office to be the first to designate some of these areas for protection.

“The National Park System has often been referred to as America’s greatest idea. However, not a single square mile of federal waters adjacent to the United States has been protected,” said Michael Conathan, Director of Ocean Policy at CAP. “This is a glaring omission that President Barack Obama—who has preserved and protected hundreds of thousands of acres of U.S. lands during his presidency—is able to remedy right now. With the National Park Service’s centennial year upon us, now is the perfect time for the president to extend protections to waters along the continental United States.”

The column highlights an area off the coast of New England that is primed for such protections. This area is home to unique marine landscapes and ecosystems. However, vested interests among New England’s commercial fisheries oppose permanent preservation of these waters. While commercial fishing is a critical part of New England’s economy and history, it is not the only priority when making decisions about preservation of federal lands and water that belong to all Americans.

Click here to read the column.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.