Don’t Remove Fishing Restrictions in Marine Monument Areas

Target: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan

Goal: Keep much-needed restrictions on commercial fishing in marine monuments in order to preserve wildlife.

Restrictions on commercial fishing in marine monuments could soon be destroyed, should a couple of representatives have their way. In a letter written to President Trump, U.S. Representatives Amata Catherine Coleman and Robert William Bishop, Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, ask for fishing to be allowed in these sanctuary spaces.

There are only several such monuments in the waters of the United States, representing some of the few places where ocean lifeforms can find respite from human interference. These differ from the related Marine Protected Areas in that monuments are designated by presidential proclamation, via the Antiquities Act of 1906. Both presidents Bush and Obama created marine monuments. However, just as presidents can declare an area of the ocean protected, so can they remove such protections.

This is precisely what Radewagen and Bishop’s letter calls on Trump to do, specifying that the President “act swiftly and effectively to remove all marine monument fishing prohibitions” while assuming that doing so would “continue to prevent overfishing… while allowing our fishing fleet to compete with their foreign competitors.”

Of course, any amount of fishing in a protected marine area is overfishing, especially when, according to the Marine Conservation Institute, as of 2014, only 2.8 percent of the world’s ocean retains a “protected” status. It is also worth noting that, also according to the Institute, “Several scientific analyses… have indicated that having 20-30 percent of marine areas in reserves is the minimum necessary to safeguard marine life.”

Short-term economic gains are not an excuse for the wholesale destruction of the Earth’s ocean ecosystem, a catastrophe which is now unfolding due to pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, and global warming via ocean warming, deoxygenation, and acidification across the world’s seas.

The oceans are fragile, and many of their ecosystems are on the brink of destruction. By allowing for the kind of flagrant disregard for the ecosystem that Bishop and Radewagen have advocated, we will only reap short- and long-term ecological destruction and, despite any immediate economic gains, both we humans and the environment upon which we depend will suffer into the future. Urge the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to speak up in order to protect marine life for generations to come.


Dear Mr. Ryan,

Only 2.8 percent of the global ocean has been given a “protected” status, and according to the Marine Conservation Institute, at least 30 percnet of the global ocean must be protected in order to safeguard marine life into the future. This, of course, isn’t even considering the present and future impact of climate change on our oceans, an impact which is already causing considerable problems for most marine life, and is slated to cause the death of nearly 90 percent of all coral reefs by 2050.

Given these facts, short-term economic gain is not justified by increasing the already rapid and lingering destruction of ocean ecosystems. Please speak out against a proposal made to remove fishing restrictions in marine monuments.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Paulo Maurin

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  2. Removing fishing restrictions in protected areas is just appalling, and is another cruel attack on wildlife and the environment by the Trump administration. They have all sorts of excuses and so-called reasons, but there is NO excuse.
    This is a move that would almost certainly cause more devastation to the already devastated oceans and their inhabitants.

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