President George W. Bush Tuesday designated the Rose Atoll, the Mariana Trench and the Pacific Remote Island Areas as U.S. National Monuments through a Presidential proclamation under the Antiquities Act.
In doing so, the President has bypassed longstanding environmental review and public comment processes, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
Under this designation, recreational angling will be effectively prohibited within a 50-mile radius for an undetermined period of time until federal agencies can complete compatibility assessments, the NMMA said.
“We are disappointed about this new effort to restrict public access to marine resources held in the public trust without a proper review process,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement. “This new designation needlessly prohibits recreational angling in vast areas of the ocean without any scientific basis and sends the wrong signal that angling is a threat to the environment. We encourage federal agencies to work quickly on their compatibility assessments in order to reopen these areas to America’s anglers.
“As we move forward, we are hopeful that President-elect Obama and his administration will abandon this model of managing marine resources and look to the angling, boating and conservation communities as partners in environmental stewardship,” Dammrich added.
To learn more about the NMMA’s recommendations on ocean policy, visit www.nmma.org/government/federal and click on “U.S. Oceans Policy/Marine Protected Areas.”
Click here for a Washington Post report on the National Monument designations.