September 15, 2016 — SEAFOOD NEWS — Coinciding with the opening of the Our Oceans conference in Washington, DC today, President Obama announced a new 5000 square mile marine monument on the southeast corner of George’s Bank, encompassing three submarine canyons and some seamounts further off the continental shelf.
The map of the monument closely hews to the proposed map put out by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal in a letter to Obama in July. It follows a letter at the end of June from the six senators representing Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, along with a host of environmental NGOs.
The argument is simple: America has created a series of national parks on land. It should offer the same protections in the marine environment.
NGOs have been urging Obama to use executive authority to create marine monuments under the antiquities act, which are designated as areas with no human economic activity except recreational fishing.
The Oceans Conference hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry has the same goal: to put aside large areas of the global marine ecosystem in a series of reserves or marine protected areas.
This is not a goal opposed by fishery managers or the industry.