Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Welcome to Expedition PROTECT

Although cool breezes and grey skies may hint at the contrary, summer is in full swing here on American Promise.  Hector, our ROV has already taken a dip, each intern has gotten a turn at the helm, and our galley is fully stocked with chips.

Expedition Protect is underway!  The inspiration for this expedition comes from the current controversy at Cashes Ledge, an area in the Gulf of Maine that has been under protection since 2002. The Ledge contains the Atlantic seaboard's largest and deepest kelp forest, which serves as a safe haven and nursery for declining ground fish species as well as whales, sea turtles and more.

Come September, NOAA will consider opening the area to bottom trawling.  Such a destructive form of fishing has obviously raised some eyebrows, including those of the interns onboard for this expedition.  Each member of Expedition Protect hails from New England.  We’ve got an environmental chemist, the daughter of a Gloucester fisherman, an environmental engineer, a pre-vet major, and an ocean-cruiser.  Each intern joins us with a different point of view, but since each intern feels a personal connection to the ocean, this expedition is a passionate one. 

Earlier this week, American Promise sailed out to Jeffrey’s Ledge, another MPA in the Gulf of Maine.  Over a delicious lunch of pesto panini (and potato chips, of course), the crew marveled at the grace of minke whales who were also lunching in the area.  Recreational fishing boats buzzed about, whale watching tours wandered up and down the Ledge, and American Promise sailed on, observing the amazing biodiversity and activity within the protected ledge. 

Experiences such as this are the perfect example of why such areas need continued protection from commercial fishing.  Over the next three weeks, American Promise will be working in the Gulf of Maine on Expedition Protect.  To support this expedition, you can make a donation to Rozalia Project, or sign the petition organized by Conservation Law Foundation to keep Cashes Ledge protected. 

Check out our videos so far... Intro video  and video from Jeffrey's Ledge!

For a Protected Ocean,


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