Nations 1st Urban Sanctuary Designation Sought For Popular Offshore Fishing area, Baltimore Canyon

The National Aquarium on Monday announced it is seeking the public’s support in its effort to nominate the Baltimore Canyon off the coast of Ocean City as the nation’s first Urban National Marine Sanctuary. The Baltimore Canyon, a 28-mile long and five-mile wide submarine canyon off the coast of Ocean City lies at the center of the resort’s multi-million dollar fishing industry and contains fragile deep sea corals rarely seen anywhere in the world along with habitat for countless species of marine life. The National Aquarium has launched a petition drive to have it designated as the nation’s first Urban National Marine Sanctuary, presenting a unique opportunity to connect an urban population to the ecological treasure using cutting edge deep sea exploration technology. While an Urban National Marine Sanctuary designation for the Baltimore Canyon does not appear to impact fishing and other recreational uses, it certainly bears monitoring. Earlier this fall, the Obama administration designated a vast area the size of Connecticut off the coast of Cape Cod as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, the first of its kind in the Atlantic. Marine National Monuments are far more restrictive than national marine sanctuaries. The long-range plan is to phase out all commercial fishing in the marine national monument off the coast of Cape Cod although recreational fishing will still be allowed. Read the story here 08:48