Yes, this Commerical Fishing industry has Lobbyists$$$ to.

Anybody who is familiar with the gargantuan ships (Mitsubishi) that scrap miles of ocean floor clean of all life by dragging weighted nets across the bottom knows this is a HORRENDOUS idea. It is equivalent to running bulldozers through nature conservancies here on land – nothing survives, it is ALL laid to waste.

This from PEW Environmental:

For decades federal policies have protected bottom-dwelling fish by declaring thousands of square miles off the coast of New England off limits to bottom-trawling. Unfortunately, this refuge is now under threat. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has proposed to allow bottom-trawl fishing in these protected waters in a misguided attempt to offset the economic impact of lower catch limits without first conducting the required evaluation of the potential effects by producing an environmental impact statement.

Advocates and scientists alike are alarmed that dismantling these protected areas would be hugely detrimental to fish populations and fishing communities. These closed areas are credited with helping to rebuild haddock and scallop populations, which helped establish some of the most profitable fishing ports in the nation. Scientists fear NOAA’s decision to open this area to bottom trawling now will compromise recovering fish populations and hurt local fishermen in the long run.

The public has until July 26 to comment on this proposed rule. Please act today to protect this ocean habitat from one of the most damaging forms of fishing. Urge NOAA to safeguard ocean resources for the benefit of both fish and fishermen. “

And the proposed letter:

Dear Mr. Bullard:

I strongly disagree with your agency’s proposal to allow bottom trawling and other commercial fishing in nearly 3,000 square miles of New England’s protected waters.

For nearly two decades these areas have provided much-needed protection for fish and other marine wildlife and have sheltered important habitat. This protection has promoted the recovery of Georges Bank haddock and rejuvenated Atlantic sea scallops—now the most valuable fishery in the nation.

I am particularly concerned by your agency’s conclusion that opening these areas to additional fishing would not result in significant impacts to the environment. It is premature to assume this without the analysis required to produce a full environmental impact statement, given the documented impacts of trawling and the fact that these areas have been protecting cod and other groundfish for almost 20 years. In fact, more than 100 scientists told you in a letter dated April 9, 2013, that trawling would rapidly diminish the available habitat for these fish, causing further depletion of already damaged stocks. Eliminating thousands of square miles of habitat protection is the wrong response to the economic concerns of fishermen. Any changes to currently closed areas must be based on a rigorous and legally defensible impact analysis.

Even worse, the proposed rule would not achieve the stated goal. The agency’s rationale for opening these areas is to help offset the economic impact of more restrictive catch limits. But opening these areas not only risks damage to the ecosystem, it may also cause further harm to the fishermen who are in most need of help. Even your own assessment finds that opening these areas to fishing is “likely to yield only small increases in net benefit” from groundfish stocks. Further, statements from the fishing industry indicate that this measure would not offer the intended relief. Why undo decades of protection and put the future of the fishery at risk if the proposed changes are not likely to achieve the intended goals?

Mr. Bullard, you are entrusted with managing our ocean resources in the Northeast, and I urge you to take the long view. Do not consider opening these protected areas without analyzing the consequences in an environmental impact statement and the fair and open public process provided by a full management plan amendment. Our ocean ecosystems, our businesses, and our fishing communities deserve a chance to recover and thrive for years to come.

http://advocacy.pewenvironment.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1793&ea.campaign.id=21799

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