Evil or Cynical (Does it Make a Difference?)

On June 5, 2020, Trump announced in Maine to a group of commercial fishing representatives that he was opening by executive order a marine conservation area off the New England coast (the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts) to commercial fishing.  This area lies east of Cape Cod. It is one of only five (5) marine monuments nationwide. The creation of the monuments was a response to over-fishing and environmental degradation. These sanctuaries are intended to protect vulnerable species and fragile marine environments.  No scientific justification for Trump’s action exists.

The scientific facts are clear that chronic commercial over-fishing has collapsed the stocks of many commercially important species and threatens many more. It is also true that global warming has caused the temperature of the oceans to rise which imperils many species. In fact, it is documented that as the Atlantic Ocean warms species that require cold water, such as lobsters, are moving farther and farther north to find suitable habitat. That is why the lobstermen in Maine are doing great while lobstermen in more southern New England are suffering.

So we have a confluence of factors such as a rapidly growing demand for fish protein; world-wide commercial fishing competition; chronic over-harvesting of fish stocks; decimation of the foundational forage fish in the marine food chain (such as menhaden and sardine) by the industrial-scale commercial fishing industry; water pollution and loss of the estuarial habitat necessary for many species to exist; and, on top of it all, global warming. No marine scientist is optimistic about the future of our marine resources. Yet, Trump decides, against the advice of the marine scientific community, to allow commercial fishing in a marine sanctuary?

There are only three (3) possible reasons for Trump’s actions: a few votes; to destroy the entirety of each and every conservation measure taken by Obama; or, he’s just plain evil. Does it really make any difference what his reasons are? Not to the fish, marine life and fragile deep sea corals that will be destroyed.

May I recommend the book “Cod” by Mark Kurlansky. The author documents the historical importance of this fish to the world and its ultimate demise due to human ignorance, greed, mismanagement and habitat loss. I think you will find it fascinating.

One final thought: If Trump is willing to destroy marine sanctuaries, isn’t he also willing to destroy wildlife sanctuaries? Do the Whooping Cranes really need all the Aransas Pass Wildlife Refuge? Surely there is enough room for some resorts, condos, spas, golf courses, retail spaces, office buildings and shopping centers?