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Fishermen upset over creation of Atlantic's first monument

Fishermen upset over creation of Atlantic's first monument

As a part of the Our Ocean conference, President Obama will be designating a subterranean jungle the size of CT as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.

The White House said that more than 20 countries attending the annual ocean conservation meeting will announce the creation of 40 significant new marine protected areas, totaling almost 460,000 square miles (1.2 million square kilometers) of ocean. "If we're going to leave our children with oceans like the ones that were left to us, then we're going to have to act, and we're going to have to act boldly".

Obama has protected more areas of land and water than any other president in U.S. history: just last month, Hawaii's Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument became the world's largest marine protected area - roughly twice the size of Texas - after Obama expanded the region first established by George W. Bush.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who is hosting the ocean conference, said in a statement, "By protecting ecologically sensitive areas of our ocean, the United States is leading on an issue that is important to people on every continent because of the ocean's connection to food security, shared prosperity and resiliency in the face of climate change".

The monument designation means that all commercial fishing will eventually be banned, along with any mineral extraction, but most other activities can resume. The undersea canyons rival the Grand Canyon in both size and scale, and the underwater mountains are higher than any east of the Rockies.

The area is incredibly biodiverse, hosting a range of endangered and rare species including turtles, whales, dolphins, and deep-sea fish. Expeditions also have identified species of coral found nowhere else on earth.

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"The more of those threats we eliminate through conservation, the more resilient those ecosystems will be to the consequences of climate change", said Obama. They described the monument, about 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, as one of the least fished areas in the U.S. Atlantic, which is part of why it was chosen.

The president said the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, located off George's Bank, will help safeguard the oceans. Environment America said it and other groups were pushing for Obama to designate more land-based national monuments before leaving office in January.

The United States controls more of the ocean than any other nation: Its exclusive economic zone, or EEZ, accounts for 55 percent of total US acreage if federal lands and waters are combined.

While the decision makes environmentalists happy, many fisherman said the announcement is deeply disappointing.

"The notion that the ocean I grew up with is not something that I can pass on to my kids and my grandkids is unacceptable", Obama said at the first day of the two-day event, after recalling his own childhood in Hawaii. The conference focuses on marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and climate-related impacts on the ocean.

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