SPEAKING IN THIS VIDEO:
Samuel Rauch III
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, NOAA Fisheries
- Sam Rauch gives background information on President Obama’s proposal to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
Executive Director, WPRFMC
- “The President’s aspiration for a strong legacy concerning environmental issues is commendable. However, his plan for the U.S. Pacific islands unfairly penalizes U.S. fishermen and seafood consumers who depend on this resource. U.S. fishermen, including those in the Pacific, already abide by the strictest fishing regulations in the world, and this plan, whatever that plan might look like, further inhibits their economic survival.”
Acting Secretary of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Dept. of Land and Natural Resources
- Arnold Palacios discusses the impact that this newly proposed marine monument will have on the Hawaiian and American Somoan fisheries.
- “A lot of promises where made when President Bush created the Marianas Trench National Marine Monument in 2009.” Since then, he explains, the affected communities have yet to see results and “very little revenue has trickled down.”
- “Pew [Charitable Trusts] was very instrumental in pushing for the establishment of these monuments, but today they are nowhere to be seen.” Mr. Palacios explains that it is now up to the local governments, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to come up with a plan to address the problems now faced by regional fishermen.
Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga
American Samoa Dept. of Marine & Wildlife Resources
- “There’s not that much land as far as American Somoa is concerned - Tutuila, Manu’a, and Swains - so our ocean is our livelihood. So expanding this monument in Somoa, in American Somoa particularly, is very disheartening for my people.”
WPRFMC Council Member & Commercial Fisherman (Hawaii)
- “Any type of curtailment of domestic fishing in domestic waters is really an impediment and sets us back and makes us even more dependent on imports. Currently the United States imports north of 80% of the seafood consumed in this country. To take a huge swathe of water and say ‘okay, it’s off limits to domestic fishermen,’ only makes our trade balance disadvantageous to the United States.“
- “I think also that having domestic fishermen fishing responsibly and sustainably in those waters is actually an enforcement tool. Without the eyes and ears of the domestic fishermen, our exclusive economic zones are subject to being breached by foreign interests.”
Senior Scientist/Pelagics Program Coordinator
- Mr. Dalzell explains that, without these fishing grounds, fishermen will be forced further away to other locations, wasting time, effort, and valuable resources, wasting time, effort, and valuable resources.
- Mr. Dalzell continues by explaining the already-restrictive limitations fishermen face due to days at sea regulations.
- Mr. Dalzell also highlights concerns that U.S fishermen will be forced to purchase access to foreign fishing grounds if barred from accessing their own waters, as President Obama’s proposal would require.
- He adds that these countries are seeking to raise this cost from approximately $6,000 to $8,000 per day, and expresses concern that these costs will ultimately increase to $10,000 per day.