For centuries, Atlantic cod has been essential to New England’s identity. Yet today, you can rarely find locally caught cod in a grocery store or on a menu – because it has been fished to the brink of disaster. Here’s what it’s going to take to save New England’s founding fish.
“The fishermen have had the ocean all to themselves for centuries,” says Peter Shelley, senior counsel for the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston. Shelley says the lawsuit challenging the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, and the presidential authority that created it, failed to acknowledge other “values” such as conservation and preservation as powers granted in the Antiquities Act of 1906.
This underwater mountain range faces mounting threats.
Conservation Law Foundation has filed two challenges to the National Marine Fisheries Service Omnibus Habitat Amendment related to the impact of fishing gear on important species.
After 14 years of development, a newly approved plan for managing New England’s fisheries should have prioritized protection of important ocean habitats and improved the long-term well-being of our fishing economy. Instead, in a short-sighted decision, fishery managers put fragile habitats and overfished species at even greater risk than they are today.
“Our marine monument – the only one in the Atlantic – protects rare and fragile ocean life and serves as an important deep-sea laboratory that will propel forward our nation’s commitment to scientific understanding and innovation. We intend to continue to fight for full, comprehensive protection of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts monument on behalf of all New Englanders who rely on a healthy ocean.”
The story of North Atlantic right whales is a sadly familiar one. Historically, they were targeted by whalers because they were commercially lucrative and easy to kill. Today, with barely 500 North Atlantic right whales left on the planet, they face threats from warming waters, which push their food sources north, as well as fishing net entanglements and ship collisions.
“Today the President said clearly and unequivocally that ensuring Americans have access to clean and safe water is not on his to-do list,” said Christopher Kilian, Director of CLF’s Clean Water and Healthy Forests program. “Repealing this critical protection not only defies the broad-based will of the American people, but it also places our region’s wetlands, streams and coastal estuaries at risk. New Englanders deserve better, and CLF stands ready to fight this catastrophic action at all costs.”
Soon, President Obama will close his eight years in office with a strong ocean legacy. He will be remembered for having protected more square miles of ocean than any president before. His administration created new marine sanctuaries, expanded Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and of course, designated the first such monument in the Atlantic, the Northeast Canyons…
Climate Impacts in Motion In September, leaders from around the world gathered in Washington, D.C., for the third annual Our Ocean Conference, hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry. Together, they committed to 136 new initiatives aimed at conserving and protecting fragile ocean areas worldwide. In between commitments from the countries of Sri Lanka and…