Press Room

New England’s Canyons and Seamounts Declared as First Atlantic Marine National Monument

Area Revealed Critical to Atlantic Puffin Survival

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Today, President Obama announced the designation of the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts as the first Atlantic National Marine Monument. This area in the Gulf of Maine attracts ocean wildlife from both the coast of New England and far offshore. Recent findings by the National Audubon Society reveal this area to be critical habitat for Maine’s Atlantic Puffins. The canyons help not only to provide winter habitat for puffins and other seabirds, but breeding places for fish such as white hake and red fish that parent puffins feed to their young. Audubon released the following statement:   

 "Puffins and other seabirds spend the winter gorging themselves on the fish that live in these underwater canyons. With dangers like climate change and warming waters threatening their survival, they need all the help they can get. Protecting this magical place is a great start,"said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold (@david_yarnold). 

“This special place is remarkably free from human disturbance. Permanently protecting the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts as a Marine National Monument will preserve it as a thriving biodiversity hot spot," says Dr. Stephen Kress, director of the Audubon Seabird Restoration Program and Project Puffin. “Our research shows that puffins are great survivors. They live in the wilds of open ocean, swimming in 100-foot waves. If we ensure that they have ample food of the right size, shape and nutrition, they are more likely to be able to adapt to climate change and other threats.”

In contrast to U.S. waters in the Pacific Ocean, where very large areas have been protected as National Monuments, there are no National Monuments in the U.S. Atlantic. To learn more about Audubon's work to protect Atlantic Puffins and other seabirds, please visit,

The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at and @audubonsociety.



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