It may seem like a paradox, but it’s not: Closing an area of the ocean to all economic activity to protect ocean resources turns out to be an effective way to ensure that our region’s economy will continue to flourish.
After his New England tour this month, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke apparently is considering partially revoking or rescinding the status of the first marine national monument off the US Atlantic Coast (“Trump aide gets earful on fisheries,” Metro, June 17).
The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Monument, just 150 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, is an amazing natural wonder, with canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon, mountains higher than Mount Washington, and more than 1,000 species, including endangered sperm whales and Atlantic puffins.
Preserving a healthy ocean, with abundant populations of fish and other sea creatures, benefits the region’s economy. New England’s ocean economy supports more than 230,000 jobs and brings in $16 billion, much of it from tourism and recreation. A healthy ocean, with abundant populations of fish and other sea creatures, is vital to these industries.
Whale watching in New England is big business: Massachusetts is one of the top 10 whale-watching spots in the world. Recreational fishermen visit the closer canyons for marlin, tuna, and other trophy game fish. Seabird watching is also popular.
When ocean resources are compromised, so, too, are the industries that depend on them. To protect them and the region’s hundreds of thousands of jobs, we must preserve this monument.
The writer is a founding director of the New England chapter of Environmental Entrepreneurs.