Earth Day Irony: Ocean Habitat Faces Threat of Destruction

Priscilla Brooks | @pbrooks111

This Earth Day, the spectacular underwater ecosystem known as Cashes Ledge faces the threat of destruction. Take action now to protect Cashes Ledge. Located in the Gulf of Maine, only about 80 miles from the coast, Cashes Ledge is a remarkable and irreplaceable ocean habitat.

A governmental body known as the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) is entrusted with protecting habitats for fish in our region. But they have betrayed the public trust by moving forward with a draft plan to open much of Cashes Ledge to bottom trawling and other destructive forms of fishing. They are voting at their April meeting – timed to take place over Earth Day – on whether to finalize their dangerous recommendation!

In recent months, more than 152,000 comments were submitted to the Council about their draft plan, including many expressing strong support for maintaining protection of Cashes Ledge. The Council has so far been deaf to the public outcry – but we’re not going to let them ruin this unique and sensitive ecosystem.

Here’s our next move: CLF is continuing to reach out to John Bullard, who is the Northeast Regional Administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Mr. Bullard can put positive pressure on the Council at their meeting next week. And after the meeting, it is NOAA that will decide whether to move forward with the Council’s recommendations.

In January 2015, after hearing from thousands of CLF supporters, Mr. Bullard came out in favor of protections for Cashes Ledge. And he reiterated this stand in a letter to the Council issued this week. We believe he is open to doing the right thing in protecting this vital New England ocean habitat. But we need him to stand strong as next week’s meeting approaches and the decision-making process moves forward. Send John Bullard a message today: Tell him to protect Cashes Ledge this Earth Day and beyond.

Cashes Ledge is an irreplaceable ocean habitat. It boasts the deepest cold water kelp forest in the Gulf of Maine and possibly the North Atlantic and has a rich array of wildlife, including sea anemones, sea stars, and bright orange, red, yellow and blue sponges. Atlantic bluefin tuna can be found pursuing herring here, and humpback and North Atlantic right whales often stop off to feed on the abundant supply of plankton. As Earth Day approaches, take action to protect Cashes Ledge now.

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Cashes Ledge

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