New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell recently sent a letter to the White House Council on Environmental Quality expressing concern about the possibility of President Barack Obama issuing an Executive Order that would declare certain offshore areas marine monuments.

Bob Vanasse, the Executive Director of Saving Seafood, told WBSM News that one of the biggest complaints from members of the fishing industry is that, although they met with federal officials, they weren't presented with any specific proposal.

"There was no actual proposal from the administration to be discussed," said Vanasse "they were having this listening session but the listening session was something of a peculiar one way street, in that they listened to concerns, but they never responded."

Vanasse says that if the administration issued the order, through the Antiquities Act, it could have a huge impact on the local fishing industry.

"The best estimate suggests that 20 to 25 percent of the fishing areas in these regions could be affected," said Vanasse "the most affected fisheries are the red crab industry, lobster, and tuna but there are other industries."

While stating that the fishing industry would be opposed to such a move Vanessee says including at least one concession would make it more tolerable for many fishing families.

"Please only do it seaward of a line produced in the canyon and sea mountain region of the continental shelf, the 900 meter depth," said Vanesse "and if it's done that way, while the industry still considers it an inappropriate use of the Antiquities Act, it would not have a detrimental effect on our fishery."

A full copy of Mayor Mitchell's letter can be found by clicking on the following link: Letter to Christy Goldfuss.

A similar letter regarding this issue was also sent by Monterey, Calif. Mayor Clyde Roberson.

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