NOAA has determined that Mariana Trench has successfully met the national significance criteria and management considerations described in the sanctuary nomination process. Areas under consideration by NOAA for national marine sanctuary designation will be selected from this inventory.
"The marine waters of New York and New Jersey sustain a world-class metropolitan region, a rich maritime history, highly productive fisheries, and a rich diversity of marine life, thus deserving recognition as a national treasure. Located just over 175 km (or over 100 mi) southeast of New York City, the Hudson Canyon (Canyon) is the largest submarine canyon along the United States’ Atlantic coast and one of the largest in the world (Butman et. al. 2006). Rivaling the depth and scale of the Grand Canyon, the Hudson Canyon extends about 560 km (350 mi) seaward, reaches depths of 3-4 km (2-2.5 mi), and is up to 12 km (7.5 mi) wide. We seek to nominate the offshore area of Hudson Canyon as a new National Marine Sanctuary.
The grand scale and diverse structure of the Canyon make it an ecological hotspot for a vast array and abundance of marine wildlife from the familiar to the bizarre. The Canyon provides habitat for a range of endangered, protected, and sensitive species including the sperm whale, sea turtles, deep sea corals, and unique and diverse seep communities. The robust biodiversity of the Canyon directly supports our local economy as well, by providing productive waters and habitats for the fish and invertebrates that commercial and recreational fisheries depend on. Recreational divers explore some of the shallower areas in and around the Canyon, and the yearly migration of whales and seabirds through the Hudson Canyon attracts whale-watchers and birders from across the Northeast, which further supports jobs in the tourism industry. In addition to supporting diverse fisheries, ships regularly traverse the waters above the Canyon to enter one of the world’s busiest ports, and lying on the Canyon’s bottom is a network of deep sea communication cables that connect us to the world.
It is our intention that the designation of a new National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) would preclude such inconsistent uses as oil, gas, and mineral extraction in the Hudson Canyon, helping to maintain fish and wildlife populations, protect our coastline, and ensure a future for the economically important fisheries and tourism industries that depend on healthy ocean ecosystems. We therefore recommend that fishing should continue in this economically valuable area, especially in light of recent proactive measures taken to protect deep sea corals and forage species in the region. A Sanctuary can complement these and other management efforts, for example, by assisting with enforcement of the Council’s amendments, raising awareness, supporting research, and excluding incompatible uses. In addition, a designation would also bring financial resources for monitoring and scientific research that will be an important source of information when helping to address to impacts of warming and ocean acidification in the future.
A Hudson Canyon National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of New York and New Jersey will provide a special place for millions to enjoy and use today, while securing an ecological legacy for generations to come."