Sure, let’s protect the oceans, but we still need to fish – Jim Meek

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are getting as common as hipster sightings along the south end of Agricola Street. Just last week, the world’s largest MPA (600,000 square miles) was announced for Antarctica’s Ross Sea. The new MPA was the result of a multilateral negotiating marathon involving nations that don’t get along — like Russia and the U.S. — so let’s hope it all works out for the environment. Speaking of the Americans, their outgoing president has burnished his legacy by using executive orders to announce two massive “national marine monuments” off Hawaii and New England. By massive, I mean 5,000 square miles of MPA territory. We’re not talking the Sailors’ Monument in Point Pleasant Park here, or the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen. Normally, Americans declare marine sanctuaries instead of marine monuments, but the former would involve pre-consultation with a bunch of noisy people including disgruntled fishermen — who can raise an awful ruckus once they’re riled up. So Barack Obama got around all that “let’s-listen-to-the-people-first” nonsense by declaring marine monuments under a century-plus old piece of legislation called the Antiquities Act. So, you’re asking yourself, who can blame a president for using an executive order or two during his last months in office? New England fishermen, that’s who. Read the op-ed here 11:07

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