Marine Protected Areas

An octopus, sea star, bivalves and dozens of cup coral all share the same overhang in an area adjacent to the Hudson Canyon off the coast of New York and New Jersey.

Underwater Canyon Could Become America’s Newest Marine Sanctuary

Hudson Canyon is the largest underwater canyon along the U.S. Atlantic Coast, and is about 100 miles off the coast of New York and New Jersey. The canyon ⁠— about 2 to 2.5 miles deep and up to 7.5 miles wide ⁠— provides habitat for a range of protected and sensitive species, including sperm whales, sea turtles and deep sea corals.

The canyon’s rich biodiversity is integral to the region’s economy, underpinning commercial and recreational fisheries, recreational diving, whale-watching and birding. 

Diver swims over the two-masted schooner, Walter B. Allen, which sank in 1880.
Diver swims over the two-masted schooner, Walter B. Allen, which sank in 1880.

New Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary established by NOAA

At the time of its designation in 2021, the sanctuary included 36 known shipwrecks dating from the 1830s to the 1930s, including Wisconsin's two oldest known shipwrecks, the schooners Gallinipper, which was constructed in 1833 and sank in 1851, and Home, which was built in 1843 and sank in 1858.

NOAA designates new national marine sanctuary in Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan

An exciting recreational opportunity: a diver swims over the two-masted schooner, Walter B. Allen, which sank in 1880. (Tamara Thomsen, Wisconsin Historical Society)

“Preserving this region furthers the Biden-Harris Administration’s vision of locally-led, collaborative conservation,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “This designation is also an exciting opportunity for the public to celebrate and help protect this piece of our nation’s rich maritime history.”

Vlad Karpinsky / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
File photo: Reef scene in Fiji. Source: Vlad Karpinsky / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Fiji's coral reefs rebounds

On 20 February 2016, tropical cyclone Winston struck Fiji. It was described as the most destructive cyclone ever to strike in the Pacific. With winds of up to 280km/h, the coral reefs in the Namena Marine Reserve and Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park off Fiji were completely destroyed.

To understand how cyclones affect coral reefs and how fast the reefs recover, the team at Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Fiji conducted three surveys at different times—one month after, six months after and in December 2020 (more than four years after the cyclone).

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Triples in Size

Photo credit: G.P. Schmahl/NOAA

Moving forward, this expansion means increased protections for important species and habitats. The expansion areas will be home to future conservation work and support resource protection, recreation and stewardship for local communities and the country. In particular, the sanctuary’s expansion provides an excellent opportunity to: 

The staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) is a branching, stony coral with cylindrical branches ranging from a few centimetres to over two metres in length and height.

Coral restoration projects show promise in Florida Keys

Reef-building staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) was abundant and widespread throughout the Caribbean and Florida until the late 1970s.  The fast-growing coral formed dense thickets in forereef, backreef, and patch-reef environments to depths over 20 m. 

Ascension Island viewed from the South

Ascension Island Conservation is recruiting

You will be working with the Conservation and Fisheries Team to deliver the objectives of the Ascension Island Marine Protected Area.

It is essential that you have a BSc (Hons) in marine biology or a related subject, or significant relevant experience in this field. In addition, you should be a qualified scuba diver with a minimum of 200+ logged dives and hold an advanced SCUBA qualification (PADI Advanced Open Water or equivalent).