Atlantic monument is home to unique and varied creatures.

President Obama designates pristine area to protect sea life off New England coast.

Two stretches of ocean about 210 kilometers southeast of Cape Cod have become the Atlantic Ocean’s first U.S. marine national monument.

The 12,725-square-kilometer area is called the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The new designation is intended to help protect the region’s fragile deep-sea ecosystem, which includes whales, sea turtles and corals, by gradually phasing out commercial fishing, including for crab and lobster.

“In these waters, the Atlantic Ocean meets the continental shelf in a region of great abundance and diversity as well as stark geological relief,” President Barack Obama said at the September 15 announcement. The new monument includes underwater canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon and submerged extinct volcanoes called seamounts. Expeditions in 2013 and 2014 by the research vesselOkeanos Explorer uncovered species of starfish and deep-sea corals thought to have never been seen before.

You can see photo gallery bellow:

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The new Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument (outlined) will help protect marine life — some of which is seen in the following images, described by researchers on NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer expeditions.


A deep-see octocoral creates spirals as it grows.


Octocorals, cup corals and anemones share a rock at 1,459 meters depth in Hendrickson Canyon.


Hydromedusa have red-tinted stomachs to camouflage any bioluminescence exhibited by their prey.


A deep-sea red crab hangs onto a bubblegum coral with a skate egg case hanging on as well.


Cup corals and a sea star sit a mile underwater at Heezen Canyon.


What looks like a single organism is actually a colony of highly specialized individual animals called dandelion siphonophores.


A rarely observed deep-water skate sits on the seafloor of Veatch canyon in 2013.