Baltimore Canyon “Urban” Marine Sanctuary Proposal Withdrawn

A prized fishing area off Maryland’s coast has been pulled from consideration as the nation’s first “urban” marine sanctuary. The National Aquarium in Baltimore petitioned the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last fall to designate the Baltimore Canyon as a sanctuary. Advocates said the sanctuary status would protect the sea floor and surrounding waters from oil and gas exploration and military activities, as well as create new opportunities for marine researchers and educators. The Aquarium’s CEO, John Racanelli, has withdrawn the nomination, writing in a letter to NOAA that “we have determined that the timing is not right for this nomination.” That decision came after strong opposition to the proposal from Ocean City fishermen and several Lower Shore lawmakers. They raised concerns that the designation might scuttle the area’s $100 million offshore fishing industry and prompt the resort’s 12 annual fishing tournaments to pull up anchor. Read the story here 18:54