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Here’s Why Trump’s Plan to Shrink Ocean Monuments Is So Dangerous

Trump's coming for our oceans. His administration has announced plans to shrink several of the country's land and ocean monuments.


Trump's coming for our oceans. His administration has announced plans to shrink several of the country's land and ocean monuments.

The plan immediately drew heat from those appalled that he would open up protected land in Utah.

But his plan, which hasn't been released in full, could be really bad news for our protected oceans, as well.

It's based off the recommendations of Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, who suggested that ocean monuments in the Pacific and Atlantic should be reduced in size and/or opened up to commercial fishing.

upload.wikimedia.org

It's unknown what will happen, as such moves would be an unprecedented use of the Antiquities Act.

If those monuments are shrunken or opened up to fishing, though, the results could be disastrous for the marine populations that live within them.

upload.wikimedia.org

One of the monuments, the Pacific Remote Islands, was created under the second Bush administration, and then later expanded during Obama's time in office.

It's the largest protected area in the world, spanning 370,000 square nautical miles, and is home to the most widespread and diverse populations of marine wildlife under one country's jurisdiction.

Its populations boast rare and threatened animals and coral, and opening that up to fishing could seriously threaten those endangered species.

ocean monuments

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Unregulated fishing could also lead the way to more invasive and harmful practices, including seabed mining, oil drilling and pollution.

The monetary gains in the short term could be great for certain fishing corporations, but the long-term losses to some of our most vulnerable marine life would be devastating and impossible to regain.

ocean monuments via Flickr

As large as the protected area is, it still represents just a fraction of the world's oceans. It shouldn't be too difficult to protect the rich marine lives beneath that surface and send the fishermen packing to the rest of the planet.

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