Obama’s new ocean preserves are bad for the environment and for people

obama-becauseWho wants to save the oceans? Short answer: everyone, especially politicians. A less frequently asked question is whether their high-profile efforts always work. Right now, world leaders seem to want to see who can declare the biggest marine protected areas, or MPAs, in their territory. MPAs are kinds of national parks for sea life that extends from ocean surface to ocean floor. Commercial fishing and other undersea ventures are banned in them. They are popping up everywhere. In August, President Obama announced one in the western Pacific Ocean that is 50 per cent bigger than Texas. In September he created another, more modest one off the coast of New England. Britain announced yet another MPA in September around St. Helena Island in the south Pacific. It is half the size of the Lone Star State. In fact, the MPA movement has become a religion with accepted articles of faith that more and bigger are better.  This current obsession is bad for the oceans, bad for the global environment, and bad for people. Consider what the imposition of an MPA can do to the economy and livelihood of local fishers, who are unable to easily pick up and move elsewhere. Some fishermen in New England are warning that they could go out of business as a result of the new Atlantic marine preserve. Read the op-ed here 10:48