Source: Albuquerque Journal
Author: Kevin Freking
WASHINGTON — Creating the Atlantic Ocean’s first marine national monument is a needed response to dangerous climate change, oceanic dead zones and unsustainable fishing practices, President Barack Obama said Thursday.
The new Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument consists of nearly 5,000 square miles of underwater canyons and mountains off the New England coast. It’s the 27th time that Obama has created or enlarged a national monument.
“If we’re going to leave our children with oceans like the ones that were left to us, then we’re going to have to act and we’re going to have to act boldly,” Obama said at a State Department conference. More than 20 countries represented at the meeting were also announcing the creation of their own marine protected areas.
Monument designations come with restrictions on certain activities. The White House said the designation will lead to a ban on commercial fishing, mining and drilling, though a seven-year exception will occur for the lobster and red crab industries. Others, such as whiting and squid harvesters, have 60 days to transition out. Recreational fishing will be allowed within the monument.