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Marine Institute Condemns Trump ‘Attack’ on National Monuments

January 2, 2018, 2:43 PM HST (Updated January 3, 2018, 11:57 AM)
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Marine Conservation Institute President Dr. Lance Morgan, a leader in securing strong protection for the oceans’ most important places, condemned President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind protections for two U.S. national monuments. The president made the announcement on Dec. 4, 2017, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • President Trump reduced the size of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument by 85% and almost 50% respectively.

U.S. marine monuments and marine sanctuaries could be on the chopping block next, MCI said in its press release, even though they protect some of the country’s most pristine ecosystems and make the U.S. a world leader on marine conservation, the release said.

Marine Conservation Institute. Staff of Marine Conservation Institute protesting President Trump’s decision in front of White House Monday last month. Courtesy photo

According to MCI, President Trump opened millions of acres of federal land yesterday to oil drilling, mining and other extraction—land that had been set aside for people and wildlife forever.

In the weeks to come, the U.S. may see the attack switch to our oceans, said MCI, where Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama set aside over 1.3 million square miles of federally managed ocean for conservation purpose representing 27% of U.S. oceans and helped the world progress towards the Aichi Convention on Biological Diversity goal of 10% of the ocean conserved by 2020.

“We are an ocean group, but we care about this attack on land monuments because an attack on one monument is an attack on all,” said Dr. Morgan. “The truth is that special places on land and in the ocean need protection from resource extraction to preserve biodiversity, to rebuild populations of wildlife, and to create ecosystems resilient to climate change.”

Papahānaumokuākea, Pacific Remote Islands, Rose Atoll Marine, Marianas, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monuments are each critical biodiversity hotspots for corals, fish, seabirds and marine mammals. They also support the resiliency of the world’s oceans in the face of ongoing degradation and climate change. Each site has well-thought-out and scientifically supported boundaries. Each has a management plan that prohibits commercial fishing and other destructive activities to some extent. All of them are under the microscope.

“Rolling back protections for existing marine monuments and marine sanctuaries in U.S. waters is the ocean equivalent to taking the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Dr. Morgan. “It is a huge blow to U.S. leadership in ocean conservation, which has encouraged rapid global progress on protecting critical marine ecosystems. This administration is clearly out of step with the American public and the world on this issue.”

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About the Marine Conservation Institute

Marine Conservation Institute is a team of highly experienced marine scientists and environmental policy advocates dedicated to saving ocean life for us and future generations. The organization’s goal is to help create an urgently needed worldwide system of strongly protected areas—the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES)—as a strategic, cost-effective way to ensure the future diversity and abundance of marine life. To enhance marine protection efforts in the U.S. and around the globe, the Marine Conservation Institute also built the world’s most comprehensive online marine protected area database, The Atlas of Marine Protection (MPAtlas.org).

For more information on Marine Conservation Institute, go to www.marine-conservation.org and www.GlobalOceanRefuge.org.

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