On October 8, 2021, President Biden revised the prohibited activities for the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument to include a prohibition on commercial fishing. All commercial fishing, other than for American lobster and Atlantic deep-sea red crab taken with fixed gear, is prohibited within the Monument as of October 8, 2021. American lobster and red crab fisheries are exempted from this prohibition until September 15, 2023, except where restricted under the New England Fishery Management Council’s Deep-Sea Coral Amendment (see below). These prohibitions reinstate the fishing prohibitions outlined in the original Monument proclamation signed by President Obama on September 15, 2016 (81 FR 65159, September 21, 2016).
The Monument covers underwater seamounts (Bear, Mytilus, Physalia, and Retriever) and submerged canyons (Oceanographer, Gilbert, and Lydonia). You can find more information about the Monument on our Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument webpage and in the Federal Register.
Since the Monument was first designated in 2016, the New England Fishery Management Council developed and NOAA Fisheries approved and implemented (86 FR 33553, June 25, 2021) an Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment to its fishery management plans. This action prohibited the use of bottom-tending commercial fishing gear (with an exception for red crab pots) within the designated Georges Bank Deep-Sea Coral Protection Area, an area along the outer continental shelf in waters no shallower than 600 m to the Exclusive Economic Zone boundary. This action closed approximately 82 percent of the Monument to fishing earlier this year. This reinstated fishing prohibition applies to the remainder of the Monument area, shown in Figure 1. Lobster fishing with fixed gear may continue in the area of the reinstated Monument fishing restrictions (red hashed area in Figure 1) until September 15, 2023. Fishing for deep-sea red crab with fixed gear may continue throughout the entire area until September 15, 2023. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions about the Monument for more information.