TRUMP PERMITS COMMERCIAL FISHING IN MARINE CONSERVATION AREA
President Donald Trump rolled back protections Friday at a marine conservation area off the New England coast, signing an order to allow commercial fishing in a stretch of water environmentalists say is critical for endangered right whales that number only 400 and other fragile marine life, Patrick Whittle and Ellen Knickmeyer wrote for the Associated Press (AP) on June 5, 2020.
“We are reopening the Northeast Canyons to commercial fishing,” Trump told a roundtable meeting with fishing industry representatives and Maine officials in an apparent bid to win votes in the November 2020 presidential election. “We’re opening it today.”
Environmental groups vowed to push back against the president’s actions. Trump’s decision will devastate protections for the underwater world along that stretch of New England, and threatens the end for right whales and other endangered marine animals, said Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group.
The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the New England coast, created by former President Barack Obama, was the first national marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean, and one of just five marine monuments nationwide. The conservation area comprises 5,000 square miles (8,000 square kilometers) east of Cape Cod, which contains vulnerable species of marine, such as fragile deep sea corals and endangered right whales, which number only about 400. The whales are susceptible to ship strikes and entanglements in fishing gear. It’s also a place fishermen have long harvested lobsters and crabs, and its creation drew the ire of commercial fishing groups, some of whom sued.