According to the Boston Herald, in a memo to President Trump, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended that he permit commercial fishing in the first marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean.
The memo lists other public lands that he suggests the president open to logging, ranching, mining, and oil exploration. Former president Obama designated the nearly 5,000 square miles off New England’s coast as a national marine monument just over a year ago.
Zinke recommends that Obama’s proclamation be amended to allow commercial fishing in the area. The memo is part of a review of national monuments ordered by Trump earlier this year. It should come as no surprise that the fishing industry was thrilled to hear this news, while conservation groups were incredibly disappointed.
Peter Shelley, senior counsel at the Conservation Law Foundation, said:
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.
Commercial fishing has decimated wild populations and has polluted our oceans with trillions of pounds of lost gear, nets, and hazardous materials. But not only is the fishing industry terrible for marine ecosystems; it’s also incredibly cruel.
Wild-caught fish are ripped from their habitats in massive trawling nets. Once brought to the surface, these poor animals face gruesome deaths. Despite fishes’ ability to feel pain, the seafood industry treats these innocent beings as mere objects.
In 2011 Mercy For Animals conducted an undercover investigation at a fish slaughter facility and exposed workers skinning fish alive. As the fish gasped for oxygen, their skin was ripped off with pliers. They thrashed and fought to escape the workers’ knives.
Since it’s clear that the president and his administration don’t care about protecting public lands or the countless animals who call them home, it’s up to us to take action. We can help fish and other marine animals by removing our support from the cruel fishing industry and leaving fish off our plates.