Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Thanks to Angelo, Pew Charitable Trust, and Friends of the Monument for the campaign to have a national marine monument designated in the CNMI. It's now official.
Of course, nothing in life is perfect.
1. The declaration doesn't specify that NOAA Sanctuaries will be in charge. While both Interior and Commerce/NOAA have responsibility, the repeated reference to "fisheries" looks like the declaration leaves the door open for Wespac to run the show. As if that could possibly be a good thing for environmental protection.
2. The Advisory Committee will be 3 CNMI government officials recommended by the Governor, along with two selections by Defense and the Coast Guard respectively.
There is NO room for indigenous or environmental advocates on the Advisory Council! Who will the Governor nominate? Fitial only agreed in the end and his "support" is untested. Besides, it seems as if his choices for appointments are limited to those working for the government, so people most qualified, like Angelo Villagomez and Ken Kramer and Ike Cabrera are not "eligible" for advisory council positions. People who ardently opposed the monument, like John Joyner and Sylvan (Igisomar?), however, are.
3. I've got no problem with allowing sustenance and traditional indigenous fishing, but... Recreational fishing? Allowed per the declaration, despite the overwhelming evidence from other marine reserves that show that recreational fishing is also destructive of habitat and, of course, marine life.
Well, that's all I can say for now
I'm sort of happy--we got a national marine monument. I'm sort of happy--it's fairly large. I'm sort of happy--we did it!!!But I'm sort of worried, too. It's not quite right.
But for now, we can bask in the tons of positive press--perhaps a first for the CNMI! (Many of these are the same AP wire news release we read in our own local newspaper.)
White House Press Release
New Zealand stuff.co
Los Angeles Times
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sydney Morning Herald
Reuters South Africa--I'm not sure about this link--sorry.
World Fishing Today
The Times of India
There are loads more of local newspapers in the US carrying the story--from Cleveland to Miami, from Bellingham to Raleigh, etc. On the world front, Angelo reports stories also in Pakistan and Zimbabwe newspapers, but I didn't find those.
Edit: Ah, I found it. Know you've been waiting for this: