Polito: Monument Should ‘Support Fishing Industry’
FALL RIVER- Even though she was visiting the city for a ribbon cutting ceremony at a new UMASS Dartmouth facility, Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts Karyn Polito couldn't escape questions surrounding the fishing monument controversy.
The Seamount's Marine Monument was designated as a national monument by former President Barack Obama in 2016 along with 27 others nationwide. The monument status placed on the roughly 4,900 square mile fishing area south of Cape Cod restricts any commercial activity within it, including fishing.
The designation of this area as a Monument Status is to prevent offshore drilling for oil off the coast of Massachusetts. This prevents any and all commercial activity in that designated area for any reason, leaving a considerable effect on the fishing industry in the south coast of the state.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced on Thursday that he completed his review of the 27 monuments. Zinke says that none of the 27 national monuments will be rescinded under the Trump administration, but suggested the possibility of changing the borders to a handful of monuments, none of which were specified.
When asked where the Baker administration stands on the issue, the Lt. Gov. told WBSM News that the Baker administration is seeking to retain the monument status of the area with adjustments that would allow commercial fishing.
"Our administration took a position on that last year and we reiterated that with a letter to the Secretary of Interior to make it a permanent marker to organize the monument in a way that will support the fishing industry," Polito said.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren was at UMass Dartmouth on Wednesday night for a Town Hall meeting with constituents, and told WBSM News she supports the idea behind the monument designation made by President Obama
"I certainly have talked with local fishermen, and we start at exactly the same place, and that is there should be no off-shore drilling of coast of Massachusetts, or throughout the New England area," Warren said. "That's not what any of us want."
Sen. Warren said that fishing should instead be regulated, as it has been since 1976, by the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which for 40 years was the primary law governing marine fisheries management in U.S. waters.
"I think the best way to manage fishing though is through the Magnuson Act, and not through the Monuments Act," she said. "I think the Monuments Act is there to make sure we don't have off-shore drilling, but I think Magnuson is there to make sure we get to the right place in fisheries management. It's the tool that was designed to make sure that we do hear from fishermen, and scientists, and everyone else, and try to get to some good decisions. We've been doing that for a long, long time under Magnuson."
Politicians on the state and federal level have voiced their ideas on what to do about the Seamount's Marine Monument. They can expect to be questioned on the topic by both the media and the residents until President Trump makes a decision.