June 8 marks World Oceans Day, an opportunity for the powerful on land to remember the importance of the vast swaths of water that surround them.
Less than four per cent of the ocean is designated for protection, and even that designation does not equal actual preservation of marine live and deepwater habitats.
To mark World Oceans Day, The Independent teamed up with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to showcase a small clip of some of their scientific findings over the last five years in the Atlantic Ocean.
The BOEM's five-year project, sponsored by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) and funded alongisde the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), studied two mid-Atlantic Canyons 100 miles off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland.
The group managed to study biologically rich regions never previously explored fully, thus making some notable discoveries, such as a high density of corals and varieties not known to previously inhabit the area, as well as over 125 species of fish.
The World Wide Fund for Nature particularly singles out coral reefs and their importance on World Oceans Day, noting that reefs "provide livelihoods, food and tourism estimated to be worth nearly a trillion dollars each year." Many of the corals in these canyons are vital to many creatures; if these fragile ecosystems were in anyway disrupted by mankind, the animals which live off the reefs would have nowhere else to go.