Obama Creates First Atlantic Marine National Monument

Obama Creates First Atlantic Marine National Monument

President Barack Obama has plans to create the first marine national monument in the Atlantic belonging to the United States. It is going to be an Atlantic marine monument on the Eastern seaboard.

The White House has been planning this for over a year. It is designed to fit into the Obama administration’s agenda regarding conservation efforts. The administration has shown more initiative and involvement about conservation in the final months of Barack Obama’s presidency.

The monument is going to be part of Obama’s environmental legacy. And will fit into his efforts regarding preservation of natural habitats and ecosystems.

A New Marine National Monument

The president is going to designate an area off the US Eastern seaboard as a marine national monument this Thursday. It is some 130 miles to the southeast of Cape Cod, placed on the southern side of George’s Bank. The area has an undersea range of peaks and canyons that is of interest.

The name will be The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. It will protect an area of 4,913 square miles.

In the range of the future national monument there is wildlife that will benefit. There are types of coral unique to that area. As well as several species of marine mammals, like fin and sei whales. Some of these only exist in this particular ecosystem.

The management of the area is going to be the responsibility of the Department of Interior and of the Department of Commerce.

President Obama recently made remarks about using conservation to protect environments that are vulnerable. He stated once more that the environment is one of the important issues of his presidency.

He was at Midway atoll in the Pacific Ocean in order to view the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. This August, the president quadrupled the size of the protected area. Papahanaumokuakea became the world’s largest protected area.

Fishing in the Area

Designating a natural area as a national monument protects it from development and any commercial activity. The ecosystem will be protected from human activity and its consequences on the natural environment. Undersea drilling, mining and commercial fishing will no longer happen.

An administration official answered questions about fishing in the area. According to him there are only a few small vessels fishing in the area. So the effect on the local fishermen of the area is going to be minimal.

But for the past year, some fishing groups have protested making the area protected from commercial activity. They have said that the decision could impact the economy of the region. And that fishery management groups that are already operational in the area would suffer.

The White House said that the new designation will recognize the role that fishing has in the economy and culture of the region. Fisheries of red crab and lobster have seven years before they have to cease any commercial activity within the marine monument. Additionally, other types of commercial fisheries have two months to do so.

Within the boundaries of the monument, it will still be possible to fish for recreational purposes. But commercial fishing will come to an end.


Image source: Wikipedia.