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Trump opens monument to fishing, but King says tariffs the real problem

During a visit to Bangor, Maine, on Friday, President Donald Trump opened the Atlantic Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument created by President Barack Obama in 2016 to commercial fishing.

The National Fisheries Institute, an industry group, applauded the Trump administration “for withdrawing arbitrary fisheries restrictions,” but Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said the industry’s real problem is Trump’s trade war.

“After further consideration of the nature of the objects identified in Proclamation 9496 and the protection of those objects already provided by Magnuson-Stevens and other relevant law, I find that a prohibition on commercial fishing is not, at this time, necessary for the proper care and management of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, or the objects of historic or scientific interest therein,” Trump said in a proclamation.

National Fisheries Institute President John Connelly said, “We welcome efforts to refocus on fisheries regulation that are transparent, participatory and science-based, and in this case best achieved through the New England Fishery Management Council.

“The Magnuson Stevens Act has long provided options for management councils to designate fishing areas and marine habitat for protection. This method includes an opportunity for multi-stakeholder input and a robust review of the applicable science.

“Advanced research assessments ensure proper levels of fishing are permitted in designated areas. Simply cordoning off zones on a map to harvesting without regard for the existing, well-constructed system has been duplicative and disadvantaged the men and women who work these fisheries and ultimately consumers, a vital source of food for seabirds and where Atlantic puffins overwinter, to commercial fishing.”

King said, “The president’s decision today to roll back the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument designation won’t improve the prospects for our fishermen a fraction as much as reconsidering the tariffs that have wiped out years of time, toil, and energy invested by our seafood industry in developing new markets around the globe.”

“To make matters worse, while other agricultural producers, who are suffering similar losses as a result of these trade wars, receive significant support — financial and otherwise — Maine’s seafood industry has largely been left to weather this storm alone. If the president truly wants to take action to help Maine fishermen, I’d urge him to start with those tariffs.”

Environmentalists criticized the presidential decision.

Christy Goldfuss, senior vice president for energy and environment policy at the Center for American Progress, said, “Amid a global pandemic, an economic crisis, and a nation reckoning with centuries of racial injustice, Trump has chosen to announce a rash of harmful policies that destroy our common home, silence communities of color, and disproportionately affect the most vulnerable among us.”

“Trump’s ocean protection rollback is illegal and solidifies his standing as the most anti-nature president in our nation’s history. With less than 1% of the ocean protected in the lower 48 states, rapid warming, and many ocean animals in deep decline, we should be working together to protect more habitat for whales, dolphins, and turtles — not less.

“If Trump were serious about helping fishermen, he’d work with Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to get them financial relief.”

–The Hagstrom Report




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