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Atlantic monument is home to unique and varied creatures

President Obama designates pristine area to protect sea life off New England coast

By
8:00am, October 7, 2016
dumbo octopus

MONUMENTAL DIVERSITY Spied in the Atlantic canyons and seamounts in 2014, this dumbo octopus is a deep-sea umbrella octopus with fins that resemble the lovable cartoon elephant. 

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Two stretches of ocean about 210 kilometers southeast of Cape Cod have become the Atlantic Ocean’s first U.S. marine national monument.

The 12,725-square-kilometer area is called the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The new designation is intended to help protect the region’s fragile deep-sea ecosystem, which includes whales, sea turtles and corals, by gradually phasing out commercial fishing, including for crab and lobster.

“In these waters, the Atlantic Ocean meets the continental shelf in a region of great abundance and diversity as well as stark geological relief,” President Barack Obama said at the September 15 announcement. The new monument includes underwater canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon and submerged extinct volcanoes called seamounts. Expeditions in 2013 and 2014 by the research vessel Okeanos Explorer uncovered species

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