Thursday, December 22, 2016

The declaration by President Obama in defense of the waters of the USA is necessary.

The fisheries of the USA are under threat and the protected waters before this declaration are not enough to serve the people. Protections such as these will insure a safe margin for the future.

December 20, 2016
By Coral Davenport

President Obama (click here) announced on Tuesday what he called a permanent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling along wide areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic Seaboard as he tried to nail down an environmental legacy that cannot quickly be reversed by Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Obama invoked an obscure provision of a 1953 law, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which he said gives him the authority to act unilaterally. While some presidents have used that law to temporarily protect smaller portions of federal waters, Mr. Obama’s declaration of a permanent drilling ban on portions of the ocean floor from Virginia to Maine and along much of Alaska’s coast is breaking new ground. The declaration’s fate will almost certainly be decided by the federal courts.

“It’s never been done before,” said Patrick Parenteau, a professor of environmental law at Vermont Law School. “There is no case law on this. It’s uncharted waters.”...

Across the globe, especially the fisheries of the Pacific, there are threats to the quality and the quantity of fish in the oceans. The American people need a safety margin as a food source. This order by President Obama will insure that food source.

I thank him for finding a way to protect the USA waters, or should I say what are left of them, for the future generations of Americans. President Obama has dedicated himself and his administration to increase protections of the USA's natural world for the people of this country and their children. I think the tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico caused him to assess the waters of this country and their potential to provide a food source.

The shellfish beds and the fisheries of the USA in the Gulf of Mexico have been tragically destroyed. There are vast areas of the USA's waters in the Gulf that are permanently damaged.

April 19, 2015
By Matt Smith

Tam Huynh (click here) hauls a blue crab trap over the side of his boat, shakes the catch out of it and tosses it back overboard. The results are disappointing.

"See, the crab like that, you can feel it's so skinny," he says, pressing on a spot just behind the spines that jut out of the crustacean's side. "It's got no meat.So Huynh (pronounced "Wynn") throws it over the side, where a small squadron of gulls and pelicans await. It was one of only three in his trap, one of about 300 he sets in the shallow waters of Mississippi Sound.

Huynh is one of the thousands of Vietnamese refugees who settled on the Gulf Coast for the fishing industry — but it's not much of a living these days. A few years ago, he was making upwards of $50,000 from the traps; now it's barely a quarter of that, he says. His wife works at a seafood processing plant onshore, but her hours are being cut back....

At the time of the Deepwater Horizon, Bligh Reef of Prince William Sound in Alaska (click here for audio of the grounding of the Exxon Valdez) where the Exxon Valdez ran aground on March 24, 1989 were still contaminated and exhibited far lower sea life than before the oil disaster.

The fact that waters contaminated with oil are difficult to recover demands protections where the waters exhibit productive fisheries. Below is only one of the continuing efforts in Prince William Sound to restore fisheries there. (click here)

Oil is a carbon based substance and organic in structure. When it is spilled in waters it creates long term problems. Pigeon Guillemots are shorebirds that once were innumerable in Prince William Sound.

President Obama is correct in protecting the waters of the Atlantic and Alaska. There are fisheries in these national waters that are still productive. 

In the northwest USA, some of the estuaries are seeing shellfish diminish in production because of sea waters becoming acidic. The estuaries are where shellfish begin their lives, but, due to lower pH the young are not producing the hard shells that protect them from predation. The decline in those waters is felt by the fishing community. 

President Obama is concerned about the national waters still producing fish and shellfish. The Atlantic Ocean shoreline of the USA beginning with the Chesapeake Bay and going north are vital to the people of the USA.

While each of the roughly 250 species of fish and shellfish (click here) in the Bay plays a unique role in the ecosystem, several species stand out for their ecological, historical, and/or commercial and recreational importance. These species include:...

Fish Watch (click here)

The USA's Pacific fisheries collapsed and are still recovering. So, with the west coast fisheries still closed and the Gulf Coast permanently damaged with a severe decline in commercial fishing there is every reason to thank President Obama for this level of vigilance of a vital food source for the USA.

April 12, 2016 (click here)

...According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) 2016 sardine assessment, the Pacific sardine population took a nose dive and dropped by roughly 90 percent between 2007 and 2016. In response to this crash, in April 2015 the federal Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to close the directed commercial fishery. This week, the Council voted to keep the fishery closed for another year....

Ocean Acidification of the USA Pacific Northwest fisheries has indisputable evidence of the reality and decline.

Prepared by Jan Newton and Terrie Klinger, University of Washington

Our growing understanding (click here) of the causes and consequences of ocean acidification in local marine waters has been reported in the peer-reviewed scientific literature and summarized in the Scientific Summary of the Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification (hereafter, Scientific Summary) released in 2012. The purpose of this short communication is to clearly and succinctly present the current scientific understanding of ocean acidification in the Pacific Northwest based on evidence from the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
The scientific evidence for ocean acidification in the Pacific Northwest is compelling. This evidence consists of numerous scientific papers, published over a period of many years, representing contributions from multiple scientists at multiple institutions. The scientific evidence comes from investigations of the natural and anthropogenic biogeochemistry Pacific Northwest waters, organismal sensitivity to relevant biogeochemical conditions, physiological mechanisms that determine sensitivity, and successful adaptation of culture practices in hatcheries....
The evidence of the decline of the USA's fisheries is overwhelming. President Obama acted in the only way possible when considering all the evidence.

A part of the problem with the Pacific fisheries of the USA is foreign vessel encroachment.

...The Coast Guard (click here) has four overall objectives in its living marine resources mission:

- To prevent illegal encroachment of the U.S. EEZ by foreign fishing vessels.

- To ensure compliance with U.S. laws and regulations. • To monitor compliance with international agreements. 

- To develop viable enforcement schemes to support marine resource managemen t plans. Enforcement of the fishery management plans that protect and manage our fish stocks and marine mammals falls to the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Coast Guard. NMFS estimates 96 species of fish and shellfish are endangered or at risk in the EEZ....

The problems facing the fisheries of the USA are daunting, but, these new protections will assist in maintaining what is left. The protections will also increase the chance of the restoration of collapsed fisheries.