U.S. Government Report Recommends Changes To National Marine Monuments

A map of the US National Marine Sanctuaries system
A map of the US National Marine Sanctuaries system

Is diving in one of the USA’s National Marine Monuments on your bucket list? For a few of them, you miiiight wanna get to them sooner rather than later.

Remember this past summer when U.S. President Donald Trump signed executive orders that authorized the Interior Department and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to review the National Marine Sanctuaries and National Marine Monuments that have been established over the past decade?

Well, this week Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released his department’s final report “outlining recommendations he made to the President on some national monument designations under the Antiquities Act.”

The report includes recommendations on three National Marine Monuments: (1) Rose Atoll in American Samoa; (2) the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM) off Howland, Baker and Jarvis Islands as well as Johnston, Wake and Palmyra Atolls and Kingman Reef; and (3) the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument (NCSMNM) southeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

In all three monuments, commercial fishing is severely restricted.

The report’s main recommendations for the three monuments are that the presidential proclamations that established those monuments should be “amended” to allow the local or regional fishery management councils to make fishery-management decisions.

Think this is a great idea? Think it’s a monumentally (pun intended) bad one? Read the DOI announcement here and the full report here (the Marine Monuments are on pages 15-18) and sound off in the forums. (Note: Be nice to one another! There’s enough vitriol in the world as it is.)