An Executive Order signed by President Trump commented on how to improve the competitiveness of American industry by removing “unnecessary” regulatory burdens in our US marine protected areas. After opening up the North Atlantic Marine National Monument to fishing, the administration invited 8 US regional fishery management councils to recommend ways to liberate domestic fishing from regulation and make the US the “new seafood superpower.” These councils. represented largely by industry, have asked to fish in legally protected marine protected areas that are designed to protect fish, habitat and other marine wildlife. The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WESPAC) responded to the President’s appeal by immediately claiming “fishing restrictions in the Pacific marine national monuments are impeding America’s three main tuna fisheries in the Pacific and (they)… have no proven conservation benefit.”
The letter highlighted that “quick action is urgently needed” to meet the “exceptionally high retail demand” for canned tuna due to the global pandemic.
In an Executive Order dated January 21, 2021, President Biden announced his administration would review the monument’s status including the Bears Ears of Utah and the NE Atlantic Marine National Monument. Included in this review will be the Trump Administrations proposal to allow commercial fishing in the Pacific Island protected areas in the the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and the Pacific Remote Islands.
Sign the petition to Secretary Debra Haaland to support reinstatement of all monument protections afforded under the original Antiquities Act designation.
These claims are not supported by a scientific study published this year by a team of economists and scientists who determined that the Pacific Island protected areas in the the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and the Pacific Remote Islands (established by President GW Bush in 2005 and 2007, and expanded by President Obama in 2014 and 2016) had little if any negative impacts on commercial fisheries. In fact, the study determined that Hawaii’s longline fleet had actually caught more fish after the monuments were expanded.
These industrial tuna fishers have appealed to open the Pacific Marine National Monuments to commercial fishing. With Earth Island Institute and the International Marine Mammal Project, Shark Stewards had prepared a legal suit to protect nearly 25% of the total Pacific marine protected areas from tuna and shark fishing. We now have the opportunity to restore protection for sea turtles, tuna, sharks, Monk seals and their habitat.
Support our work and sign the petition in support of the healthiest coral reefs and marine reserves in US waters.