The Obama administration must hold firm to its decision earlier this year to reject so-called monument status for the vast swath of ocean around Cashes Ledge despite last-minute arm twisting from powerful environmental lobbying groups.

Earlier this spring, the administration passed on a proposal that he decree a large portion of the Gulf of Maine, including Cashes Ledge, a permanent “maritime national monument.” The edict, made through the federal Antiquities Act, would have come with little or no input from the citizenry at large or groups whose livelihoods are tied to the ocean, like the Northeast fishing industry.

Cashes Ledge, about 80 miles off the coast of Cape Ann, serves as a habitat for sharks, dolphins and sea turtles as well as migrating right whales. The area -- more than 520 square miles is already off limits to fishing. There are no efforts on the part of the industry to change that.

Groups like the Conservation Law Foundation, however, still hope to change Obama’s mind in the last days of his administration.

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