When you think of coral reefs, the last place you may think of one existing would be in New Jersey. Believe it or not, off the coast of New Jersey (and New York) is one of the largest and most diverse cold-water coral systems in the world! Hudson Canyon is located about 100 miles from the coast and stretches nearly 350 miles into the sea. The coral canyon is over seven miles wide and more than two miles deep, and it’s home to some of the most iconic and beloved marine animals in the Atlantic Ocean.
Interestingly enough, increased efforts to protect Hudson Canyon and its surrounding areas have simultaneously increased the canyon’s ability to attract ocean wildlife. Studies going back to 2009 have also linked the increased presence of marine mammals in Hudson Canyon to the alarming spike in whale and dolphin deaths in 2023.
Since the corals in Hudson Canyon have flourished, this has driven thousands of species of ocean animals back to the once-dying region. During every season of every year, the Hudson Canyon is swimming (pun intended) with life. To name a few of the animals known to frequent the region, sharks, Bluefin tuna, whales, sea turtles, squid, and other invertebrates (corals) have returned to the canyon to feed, reproduce, and ultimately replenish the ocean with life.
While all marine life is and should be at the forefront of concerns, the corals in Hudson Canyon have solidified the prosperity of the Atlantic Ocean – and off the coast of New Jersey, no less. In light of this, over the last year, great strides have been made to officially designate Hudson Canyon as a national marine sanctuary. It’s likely that recent studies proving the revitalization of the region will help promote the importance of the canyon’s preservation. Such a designation would change boating, cargo transport, fishing, and other ocean regulations. In simpler terms, stricter regulations and less boat traffic would equate to fewer ocean animal deaths. This may be a tough concept to grasp for some, but considering the health of our planet as it stands now, why not make all the efforts possible to preserve what little ocean life we have left?
National Marine Sanctuary: