National Marine Monuments: N.E. Marine Preserve Proposal Ignites Debate Over Fishing

Proposals to create a vast national marine preserve off the New England coast are generating a whirlpool of debate that’s sucking in commercial fishermen, recreational anglers, environmentalists, multistate bureaucrats and politicians. Environmental groups are calling on President Obama to use his executive powers to establish a 6,180-square-mile New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts national monument. They insist it would protect a unique and ecologically critical marine environment lying about 150 miles off New England’s shores. If Obama heeds those calls, virtually all fishing and commercial operations such as oil and undersea mining would be banned within the new national preserve. The controversy has exposed deep fault lines between commercial fishermen fiercely opposed to new federal restrictions on their industry and many recreational anglers who argue the preserve would benefit fishing in the region. Read the article here 18:03

One Response to National Marine Monuments: N.E. Marine Preserve Proposal Ignites Debate Over Fishing

  1. DickyG says:

    Only the eco-NGOs and all the well-meaning members of the public that they’ve duped are pursuing this “National Monument” scheme. It is a terrible anti-democratic ploy by the feds to appease the anti-fishing NGOs. The question which I believe illustrates the ulterior motives behind all this sudden love of Canyons is: would it be so difficult to allow fishing and remove the threat of oil and gas drilling and minerals mining in this process?

    Fishing has been occurring in the shoal areas adjacent to the Canyons for a hundred years. If the deep water environment of these “Rare Ancient Corals” is so pristine wouldn’t that indicate that fishing has not, is not, and will not, interfere in any way with these Canyon systems?

    Proponents claim that fishing technology will eventually bring fishing activity into the deep Canyons themselves—ironically that situation is far more likely to occur at the hands of the oil and gas industry. Of course, anyone with even a passing knowledge of fishing knows that that it is completely ridiculous to suggest that fishing will occur in Canyons of depths measured in thousands of feet, and step jagged net destroying walls.

    It’s not a question of a lack of fishing technology that has so far prevented Canyon Fishing. It’s the fact that there’s NO REASON to fish IN the Canyons that makes the idea of fishing threatening these areas so incongruous. The fish are not IN the Canyons but ON the adjacent shoal water shelves where they gather to partake of nutrients upwelling from the depths of the canyons.

    These shelves, adjacent to the canyons, where the fishing occurs, are included in the “Monument” proposals to ban all activities in order to “protect” the Canyons.

    Even though decreeing “Monuments” is a terrible move, the fact that the idea of permitting fishing but banning all energy and mining activities is not even being discussed is what makes this all look so suspicious, and smack of being just another NGO angle to prevent fishing—and most likely to ultimately open these areas to truly destructive industrial exploitation, when a “group of Exxon Mobil scientists” will have “discovered a new technology” that has absolutely no ecological consequences whatsoever.

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