Dear Secretaries Ross and Zinke,
I call on you to protect and preserve the United States’ marine national monuments—and the authority to all presidents to protect our nation’s special places.
Marine national monuments protect ocean treasures by preserving unique and critical habitats that are home to countless coral, fish and other marine life.
Research has found that marine protected areas allow fish populations to replenish and food webs to rebuild, resulting in an increase in the abundance and diversity of ocean life both inside and outside the protected area. Essentially, the more fish and marine mammals populate an area, the more they venture beyond the monument’s borders, providing increased opportunities for fishing and nature-based tourism.
Marine national monuments also help to reduce other ocean stressors by providing vital services such as increased ocean resilience and ecosystem diversity to reduce the risk of losing key species and habitats.
For instance, a recent study in the U.S. Palmyra Atoll, located in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, found that large marine protected areas “can effectively benefit [vulnerable] reef sharks and other mobile species if properly enforced.”
We oppose the unprecedented reversal of monument designations by previous presidents. Do not attempt to withdraw monument designations for any monuments, including the brand-new Northeast Canyons and Seamounts in the Atlantic Ocean.
Please fulfill your duties as Secretaries of Commerce and Interior by adequately managing America’s resources and keeping our national monuments intact.