As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. President Trump revoked the National Ocean Policy last summer, but here in New England, ocean planning – the idea that we can be smarter and more coordinated about how we collectively use and manage our ocean – lives on.
“Too many of New England’s fisheries are still in crisis,” said Peter Shelley, senior counsel at Conservation Law Foundation. “Without knowing how many fish are actually being caught and being discarded at sea without being reported, the agencies are managing the fishery in the dark. This irresponsible management isn’t tolerated anywhere else in the country, and it’s unacceptable in New England as well.”
As National Ocean Month ended last week, I’m reflecting on the past month. Things may seem bleak, with the Trump administration pushing an agenda that disregards the health of the ocean we were celebrating, but I found hope in my colleagues and comrades. These incredible people and their work holding Trump accountable for his determinantal actions are what I celebrated this month.
In an executive order, Trump revoked the nearly decade old National Ocean Policy established by President Obama in 2010, stripping our nation of its policy of ocean stewardship and replacing it with one of maximum ocean exploitation..
“The repeal of the National Ocean Policy is another attack in the Trump administration’s all-out assault on the nation’s public lands and oceans for the sake of private exploitation and profit,” said Dr. Priscilla Brooks, Director of Ocean Conservation at CLF. “This repeal ignores how smart, science-driven ocean management creates economic, recreational, and environmental benefits. We are incredibly disappointed by this reckless action.”
When the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan was approved for New England’s federal waters last year, it capped off a journey for CLF that began nearly two decades ago.
A slew of bills under debate in Congress would endanger our marine life and ocean ecosystems by decimating key conservation protections offered by existing laws. Coupled with harmful actions from the Executive Branch, our ocean faces threats from some in Washington who are more concerned with lining the pockets of a few oil and gas industry executives than with the health of our ocean and coastal communities.
In this special issue of Conservation Matters, we want to take you behind the scenes of our work, to give you a glimpse into how we break down challenges and take advantage of opportunities to create a healthy, thriving New England – not just for today, but for generations to come.
The Northeast Ocean Plan will help ensure a healthy and thriving ocean.
The ocean contributes $352 billion annually to the U.S. economy, and supports 3.1 million jobs nationwide – and it’s continuing to grow. Commercial shipping traffic is increasing at an unprecedented rate. Offshore wind energy is booming off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and small new aquaculture businesses are cropping up left and right.… Continue reading Celebrating One Year of Regionwide Ocean Planning in New England