Fishing Group Opposes A Marine Preserve

The Long Island Commercial Fishing Association has joined the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in the latter group’s motion to oppose the designation of an offshore marine monument in the Northeast Atlantic, which environmental groups support.

Conservation groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council have urged the Obama administration to permanently protect the undersea canyons and seamounts area approximately 150 miles off Cape Cod, with the N.R.D.C. warning of a “push to fish, drill, and mine in deeper and deeper waters” that will put the coral and ecosystems there at risk.

Last week, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Interstate Fisheries Management Program unanimously approved a resolution opposing any designation, but offering recommendations should such a monument be created. Those include limiting it to the smallest area compatible with the care and management of objects to be protected, limiting a prohibition on fishing to depths greater than 900 meters, and a prohibition only on bottom-tending fishing in the designated area.

Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, released a statement on Friday in support of the fishery commission’s resolution. The resolution “allows for the protection of deep-sea corals, while at the same time protecting commercial fishing jobs,” she said. “It prevents the further contraction of our fisheries as we try to reclaim domestic markets from the onslaught of imported fish and shrimp, which too often is harvested by forced and involuntary laborers working in inhumane conditions.”