In June of 2016 we continued our Blue Parks expedition, again hosting a team of scientists and photographer Brian Skerry aboard our expedition ship, Plan b. We also played host to writer Cynthia Barnett, writing on assignment for National Geographic Magazine. This trip would document the importance of Cashes Ledge in the Gulf of Maine. We wanted to collect photographic and other evidence of this undeniably beautiful and and ecologically significant habitat in the hopes of further protections. As per our standard operating profile we had a robust science team aboard, joining us on this trip were Jon Witman and his assistant Fiona Beltram, both of the Witman Lab at Brown University; Liz Kintzing, Diving Program Officer at the University of New Hampshire rounded out the team.
We spent a very successful week putting together visual documentation of the best this area has to offer as well as making scientifically important collections of the vibrant plant life. The area was not chosen for protections by the Obama administration, though the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, just north of this area (and previously investigated by the Waitt Expedition the northeast’s submerged canyons and seamounts) was declared shortly after the expedition. We can only hope that future holds additional protections for this singular habitat off the northeastern seaboard, until then we are gratified to have been part of a concerted and special effort by National Geographic, the Conservation Law Foundation and the Marine Conservation Institute to protect this critical habitat.