Opinion: Atlantic monument will harm fisheries

With President Obama leaving office in less than a year, environmental groups have urged him to once again use executive authority via the Antiquities Act to declare a new marine national monument, this time in the Atlantic Ocean. Such a proposal, which circumvents all established rules and procedures, is fundamentally undemocratic, and would put a stranglehold on the commercial fishing industry.

A presidential declaration of a new national marine monument would result in potentially thousands of acres of prime fishing ground being closed off to fishermen. This would lead directly to increased costs for seafood processors, restaurants, and yes, seafood consumers. All of this will be done through a process that solicited little public input or stakeholder engagement and disregards the current, successful management process.

Such a declaration would also go against rules set out by President Obama himself. Specifically, Executive Order 13563 details the manner in which new regulations should be created and implemented. In that document, the guidelines were very clear: Regulations should not hinder the economy, should be implemented following public engagement and participation, should be based on best available science, and should be flexible.

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About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 13 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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