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Legal / Regulatory

June 07, 2020 - Common Dreams

Quietly Putting Hundreds of Species at Risk, Trump Opens 5,000 Square Miles of Atlantic Ocean to Commercial Fishing

Quietly Putting Hundreds of Species at Risk, Trump Opens 5,000 Square Miles of Atlantic Ocean to Commercial Fishing
North Atlantic Right WhaleCredit: Whale and Dolphin Conservation

In a move that environmentalists warned could further imperil hundreds of endangered species and a protected habitat for the sake of profit, President Donald Trump on Friday signed a proclamation rolling back an Obama-era order and opening nearly 5,000 square miles off the coast of New England to commercial fishing.

"We're opening it today," Trump said during a roundtable talk in Maine with commercial fishermen and the state's former governor Paul LePage. "What reason did he have for closing 5,000 miles? That's a lot of miles. Five thousand square miles is a lot. He didn't have a reason, in my opinion."

"Opening up the nation's only marine national monument in the Atlantic will help no one but a handful of fishers while risking irreparable damage to the marine wildlife that have no other fully protected areas off our eastern seaboard." —Bob Dreher, Defenders of Wildlife

The reason behind the establishment of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in 2016, conservation groups hastened to point out, was to shield endangered species and their ecosystem from harmful intrusion and permanent damage by commercial interests.

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