Cashes Ledge: The Next Chapter for Protecting New England’s Ocean Treasures

Priscilla Brooks | @pbrooks111

Soon, President Obama will close his eight years in office with a strong ocean legacy. He will be remembered for having protected more square miles of ocean than any president before. His administration created new marine sanctuaries, expanded Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and of course, designated the first such monument in the Atlantic, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.

And, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, the State Department brought together leaders from around the globe for an Our Ocean conference each of the past three years. Collectively, these leaders have made important commitments to take action as climate change threatens our oceans worldwide.

Here in New England, Senator Blumenthal led the Congressional effort to request that the president designate the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts a monument, which covers almost 5,000 square miles off the coast of Cape Cod. With your support, its ancient coral formations, incredible and abundant marine life, and feeding grounds for endangered whales are now permanently protected.

We’re proud of all of this, and you should be too.

As we move forward, though, we know that one protected area in New England is not enough. The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than almost any other ocean area in the world, and scientists say that setting important ecological areas of the ocean gives them the best chance to ward off the negative effects of this warming.

That’s why CLF, along with hundreds of scientists, business leaders, faith leaders, divers, and NGOs – and thousands of concerned people like you – have been working hard to protect the Cashes Ledge area in the Gulf of Maine as the Atlantic’s next marine national monument. And though we haven’t yet seen a designation for Cashes Ledge, we want you to know that we are going to keep fighting – through the next administration – until we can declare victory for this ocean treasure, together.

Many of CLF’s most impactful victories have followed many years of sustained effort, and all of them have one thing in common: They were worth the wait. The first legal documents for CLF’s lawsuit that would force the cleanup of Boston Harbor were filed in 1983. The case came to an official close 33 years later, in March of 2016. While we don’t expect the fight to protect Cashes Ledge to span three decades, we want you to know that we have the will and the dedication to stay the course for as long as it takes. We hope you will continue to stand with us.

Protecting Our Ocean – Protecting Our Home

We are committed to New England’s ocean, to its wildlife, and to the people for whom it is a source of play, solace, and livelihood. We believe that each of us has a stake in our ocean – and New Englanders deserve a healthy ocean for our children and grandchildren. So we are making this pledge to you, today:

We won’t stop fighting to bring back our iconic Atlantic cod. We’ll continue to hold the fishing industry to high standards to create more sustainable fisheries.

We won’t stop fighting for the rebound of the endangered North Atlantic right whale. We’ll make sure that the Northeast Ocean Plan is effectively implemented, advancing smart decisions about how we use and protect our ocean. We will double down on ensuring that ecologically important areas – including areas with high biodiversity and vulnerable or rare marine resources – are identified within the new plan. Once established, we’ll push decision makers to consider and protect these areas.

We won’t stop fighting to protect our ocean from rising temperatures and increased acidification – and to continue to seek more scientific research on how we can respond.

We won’t stop fighting for Cashes Ledge. We’ll continue to show up, speak up, and act up until this special place is protected, forever.

We won’t stop fighting for all of you and for the people across New England and beyond who rely on a healthy ocean.

Local Action Today Can Trump Inaction in Washington Tomorrow

The landscape in Washington may have shifted, but our local focus hasn’t changed: We’re prepared to use every tool and tactic we have to sustain a healthy ocean and a thriving regional economy.

Now more than ever, we’ll need you with us.

CLF’s local and regional experience and record of success are critical assets in the battles to come in the next four years. But we need to strengthen our foundation and get many more people involved in our work. Will you help us by committing to share the story of Cashes with your friends and family?

All New Englanders deserve a healthy ocean that supports thriving coastal communities and a strong regional economy, and we will dig in to keep fighting for it. Thank you for being a part of this chapter – and thanks in advance for your support as we begin to write the next.

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Cashes Ledge

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