“Pres. Obama destroyed the lobster and fishing industry in Maine. Now it’s back, bigger and better than anyone ever thought possible. Enjoy your “lobstering” and fishing! Make lots of money!” Trump’s going to have to do more than “lobstering” proclamations to save Susan Collins. Actually, Trump’s tariff war with China has damaged the Maine fisheries.
How to lobster pic.twitter.com/PZTlomCi5T
— Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) June 9, 2020
Commercial crabbing and lobstering were already allowed in The Northeast Canyon and Seamounts Marine National Monument, although they were to be phased out by 2023. “The administration has long sought to weaken the protections for many national monuments to allow more oil and gas drilling, logging and mining. It even tried to hide information about the benefits of monuments and that contradicted the narrative that resource protections that come with national monuments hurt industry, The Washington Post reported in 2018.”
President Donald Trump’s visit to Maine last week was about image and messaging. That’s how a proclamation to weaken protections at a marine monument far off the coast of Massachusetts was sold as a boon, even a savior, to Maine commercial fishermen.
Before he headed to Guilford to tour a plant that makes swabs used in coronavirus tests, the president held a roundtable in Bangor with fishermen and others in the industry — although about half the conversation was between Trump and former Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who the president appointed Friday to oversee a fisheries task force. The centerpiece of the meeting was the president signing a proclamation to allow more commercial fishing in the only marine monument on the east coast.
The Northeast Canyon and Seamounts Marine National Monument was created by executive order in 2016 by then-President Barack Obama. The protected area contains three underwater canyons, one of them deeper than the Grand Canyon, and four underwater mountains that were volcanoes. It is home to diverse wildlife, including corals not found anywhere else. Scientists recently discovered that Atlantic puffins use the area as a wintering area. The combination of deep sea and tall mountains provides a breeding and nursing ground for an array of sea life, including lobsters.
Creating a monument to protect the nearly 5,000 square mile area has long been opposed by commercial fishermen, despite the fact that less than 5 percent of the regional fishing catch comes from the area, which is south of Cape Cod.
The impact of changing the rules for the monument are virtually meaningless for Maine fishermen
Maine’s fishing industry faced many challenges — lack of demand because of the coronavirus pandemic, competition with Canada, endangered species protection and the regulations that come with it. They deserve serious attention, not nearly meaningless proclamations.
Dealers ship millions of dollars’ worth of live Maine lobster to China but much of that business may be headed to Canadian lobstermen after hefty new tariffs.
In Maine, lobstermen have their worries – warming waters, environmental regulations, dwindling waterfront access. And now they’re in the crossfire of the U.S.-China trade war. Earlier this month, China more than doubled tariffs on lobster from U.S. sources. And as Maine Public Radio’s Fred Bever reports, lobster dealers, who’ve seen sales to China shoot up over the past decade, are now suddenly shut out.
— Dude, just no (@dhambrick63) June 25, 2020