Hudson Canyon

About 100 miles southeast of New York City sits the Hudson Canyon, the largest submarine canyon along the U.S.'s Atlantic Coast. In depth and scale, it rivals the Grand Canyon. Hudson Canyon is home to hundreds of species, including deep sea corals, marine mammals, fishes, marine turtles, and seabirds. There are also numerous species important to fisheries, including tilefish, squid, crabs, flounder, and tuna.

By the Numbers

7 Empire State Buildings

Hudson Canyon's deepest point is 10,500 feet below sea level —more than 7 Empire State Buildings stacked end-to-end from the seafloor to the surface.

10 thousand years

The canyon formed more than 10,000 years ago during the last ice age.

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Photo Credit: © Image courtesy of NOAA Ocean Exploration, 2021 ROV Shakedown

A squid photographed in Hudson Canyon by NOAA's 2021 ROV Shakedown expedition.

We Rely on Hudson Canyon, Yet it Lacks Protections

Whether we know it or not, we depend on this rich environment. The huge diversity of species supports many local, commercial, and recreational fisheries. Migrating birds and whales often stopover at the Canyon for extra food, making it a popular destination for wildlife tourism. Ships regularly traverse the surface above the canyon, entering and leaving one of the biggest ports in the world. A network of deep-sea communication cables run adjacent to the canyon, connecting us to the rest of the world. New Yorkers, and, indeed, people all across the United States, rely on the services the Hudson Canyon provides. And yet this unique ecosystem has few permanent protections, and is vulnerable to harm from various human activities.

Designation as a National Marine Sanctuary

Designating the Hudson Canyon a National Marine Sanctuary will provide a wide range of benefits for New York and New Jersey residents and for the diversity of wildlife living off our shores. It would:

  • Preclude offshore energy and mineral exploration and development in the canyon (including oil, gas, and offshore wind)
  • Maintain fish and wildlife populations
  • Ensure a future for the fisheries and tourism industries that depend on healthy ocean ecosystems

In November 2016, WCS's New York Aquarium and a diverse coalition of elected officials, economic development, business and tourism organizations, non-profit organizations, environmental organizations, recreational divers, and over 17,700 members of the public nominated Hudson Canyon as a National Marine Sanctuary. WCS recommends that fisheries within the Hudson Canyon continue to be regulated through existing regional and federal entities, not through an NMS designation.

The following winter, NOAA determined that Hudson Canyon is a place of national significance and placed the nomination in the Sanctuary Inventory.

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