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Local Fisherman Asks Congress to Modify New England Underwater Marine Monument Designation


NEWPORT, RI – William Palombo of Palombo Fishing Corp. released his personal letter to Secretary Ryan Zinke of the United States Department of the Interior on July 10th, 2017.

Palombo’s personal plea to Secretary Zinke and President Trump stems from former President Obama’s designation, on September 15, 2016, of an underwater Marine Monument in the Atlantic Ocean Canyons and Seamount area in depths of less than 900 meters.  The designation came after the former President utilized his authority under the Antiquities Act, superseding a transparent and public process currently underway in New England to protect the Atlantic Ocean habitat and coral in question.

Palombo is asking Trump’s administration to modify the current boundaries and/or fishing restrictions of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Monument with the goal of eliminating the negative impacts to his domestic fishing fleet which fishes in this area. One of his boats, the f/v Freedom, has fished for 25 years with 100% of its gear in this area.  Despite fears expressed by environmental groups that lobstermen will eventually fish deeper than 600 meters once the technology is available, lobsters do not reside at these deeper depths.  The environmental groups, who proposed the monument areas to President Obama, deemed Palombo’s fishing areas, “PRISTINE” – even after 40 years of fishing and trapping in this region. If the current administration is willing to modify the starting depth of the underwater monument to 900 meters, where the delicate corals primarily reside, then Palombo can continue his “clean trapping” practices and preserve his business and the livelihood of the captains and crews of his fleet.

 

For over a year, members of the offshore fishing industries worked tirelessly with State personnel, Governors’ offices, and Congressional offices to try to dissuade the prior administration from closing this vast productive area of the Atlantic to commercial fisherman.  Palombo hopes that the current administration will reevaluate the marine monument designation and look at the facts which were not previously considered.  Jurisdiction to manage the fisheries in the Monument area is already contained in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act, administered by regional Fishery Councils, Commissions and NOAA Fisheries.

In April, Trump requested the Interior Department review 27 national monuments created since 1996, with an eye to overturning or reducing the size of some to increase development opportunities.

Palombo Fishing, Corp. is located in Newport, Rhode Island.  This organization primarily catches lobsters in the North Atlantic outside of 30 miles. Palombo has been operating for approximately 46 years. Palombo Fishing, Corp. is estimated to generate $2.9 million in annual revenues, and employs approximately 20 people at this single location.  His fishing fleet includes: f/v Endeavor, f/v Freedom, and f/v Timothy Michael.

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