California fishermen, enviros fight over proposal to protect underwater seamounts.

California fishermen first learned of the proposal in May, out of the blue. In a six-page, unattributed document, the proposal suggested turning several of the state’s offshore seamounts, ridges and banks into national monuments, permanently closing them to fishing as well as oil and gas development. Under the federal Antiquities Act of 1906, presidents have the power to designate monuments, and implicitly, the proposal asked President Barack Obama to exercise that executive power. “It’s fishing management by fiat,” says Diane Pleschner-Steele, director of the California Wetfish Producers Association. Among the partners behind the proposals is Marine Conservation Institute, and MCI President Lance Morgan, a marine biologist, disagrees that he’s trying to avoid due process, and says that’s just how these things get done. Read the rest here 08:08

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