Over thirty years ago, Congress passed the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972. Three years later, in 1975, the wreck site of the USS Monitor became the nation’s first national marine sanctuary.
Since that time, 12 more sanctuaries and one protected coral reef ecosystem reserve were established.
From the first to the newest sanctuary, the Northeast regional office protects not only the USS Monitor but natural and cultural resources at Stellwagen Bank, and a vast collection of Great Lakes wrecks in Thunder Bay, the nation’s newest sanctuary which was created solely to protect underwater cultural resources.
The office faces daunting challenges, like crowded shipping lanes and dense fishing gear deployments that threaten endangered marine mammals feeding in the Stellwagen Bank area.
Maritime heritage resources abound throughout the three sanctuaries, and in January 2005, the Portland, New England’s Titanic, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Stellwagen Bank is also considered one of the top whale watching sites in the world.
Visit the site links to learn more about the Thunder Bay, Stellwagen Bank, and Monitor sanctuaries.