Fishing organizations, including those representing lobster fishermen in the Northeast United States, have expressed outrage over U.S. President Barack Obama’s designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument on 15 September.
Several groups representing the fishing and seafood industries are investigating the possibility of taking legal action in the hopes of altering the monument’s boundaries or challenging the president’s authority to declare national monuments through executive order under the legal umbrella of the Antiquities Act.
“We’re looking forward to working with Massachusetts’ congressional delegation, and also meeting with the governor next week to get continued support to challenge the monument, even to the point of getting the attorney general’s office to look at the legality of the executive order, Beth Casoni, executive director of the Massachusetts’ Lobstermen’s Association said. “My understanding is that no presidential executive order has been overturned, but it has been amended.”
Casoni said that about 100 members of her association fish in the area designated for the monument, with many hundreds more fishing there from other parts of the U.S. While the monument’s designation allows lobster and crab fishing to continue in the monument’s area for seven more years before the fishery is closed off, Casoni said the loss of a “highly valuable area” will be another harsh blow for New England fishermen.
“We’re not giving up this fight,” she said.