No New MPAs? Obama: Don't Do Us Like That

It's no secret: I voted for Obama. I did a lot more than that. I called the 'Impeach Obama' bluff. I begged him to give up fish, although I don't think he has yet.

I guess giving up seafood can wait. This month, President Obama gave me a harder pill to swallow. As many of you know, the Obama administration announced this month we could expect no additional marine reserves. California is still pushing their reserve designations with their MPAs work campaign, even if recreational fishers are unhappy. Others are rallying support for a National Ocean Policy.

Now I know Obama is a man of the people but there are people out there who put a lot of energy into that world uninhabited by humans--the oceans. Why couldn't some of that $787 billion in stimulus dollars be spent on marine reserves? Better yet, how about an 'ocean tax' on the $20 billion in bonuses those douchebag Wall Street bankers gave themselves amidst an economic crisis where Americans are losing their jobs and their homes (homes many of those institutions haphazardly financed)?

Marine reserves are not only important in a thriving economy. WIth less than 1% of the global ocean protected, the U.S. should be a leader in showing that marine protection can happen in good times and bad. We should not allow the designation of new marine reserves should not wane under this administration. Please, Obama: don't do us like that.

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Amen on the 'ocean tax' idea. Goldman Sachs can have naming rights, for all I care, of any new MPA they pay to protect. Call it "Goldfinger Reserve" or something, in deference to James Bond being a fan of MPAs...

Erik, Orion Grassroots Network

Its clear from yesterday's online address that Obama likes big challenges, like health care reform. This is good, because funding the existing marine sanctuary system is probably a bigger challenge than adding new ones.

I understand your sentiment is to protect more habitat, but given the current economic climate, the best way to do that is probably to expand sanctuaries, rather than add new ones. The US National Marine Sanctuary System is chronically underfunded. They need investment and support.

That said, Alaska should not be without a sanctuary. I wish the Administration had not responded flat out like that. More than a few pristine Alaskan bays are currently under threat from development.

By Aquanautix (not verified) on 21 Oct 2009 #permalink

Reserves, sanctuaries, MPAs. Maybe its all just semantics.…

The Obama administration ⦠added a layer of protection for polar bear today, setting aside 200,000 square miles of Alaskan coastline and waters as their "critical habitat". The decision would put restrictions on oil and gas drilling along the north coast of Alaska.

By Aquanautix (not verified) on 22 Oct 2009 #permalink

"Less than 1% of the global ocean protected"...

Protected from what? The majority of high seas areas are already covered by RFMOs (of varying degrees of effectiveness) or RFMOs are in development. The IMO's Marine Pollution (MARPOL) conventions have done a decent job of reducing oil discharge. When you say we should set aside new areas for protection, what are we setting it aside from? Yes, overfishing is a major issue, but the 2006 Magnuson Act renewal is pointing us in the right path to end overfishing, as evidenced by industry contraction underway in New England.

If we really want to protect America's oceans, we have to find a way to convince land-users to change their practices, not just ocean-users. That means storm water discharge and leaky septic tanks in Puget Sound, concentrated animal feed operations on the Mississippi, and suburban development in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, among many other examples, and for god's sake action on CO2 to deal with ocean acidification.

Fishermen and fishery managers are not without blame, but i'm hesitant to support MPAs for MPAs sake when the more significant problems are upstream and on dry land.

By Bradley Soule (not verified) on 23 Oct 2009 #permalink

Aquanautix: re: Alaska. Rep. Don Young (R-AK) is a key player who has vowed to block any of the ocean management or MPA type plans now being proposed, including HR 21, recently said of it "You may try to work it through the House, you may have the Speaker help you out, but I'll stop it dead in the Senate, because you're not going to mess with my waters in Alaska, you're not going to mess with my fishermen as you've done in the past," Young added.

Don't sound like good odds.

Erik, Orion Grassroots Network

"Why couldn't some of that $787 billion in stimulus dollars be spent on marine reserves?" Maybe because Obama did not think that would stimulate the economy. Also, we are not spending dollars, we are incurring debt. Finally, in regard to the bankers, I think enema bag would be a more appropriate trope than "douchebag"; but I doubt this to be a proper forum for either term.

By walter gura (not verified) on 27 Oct 2009 #permalink

hmmm... maybe this is about someone's ego because they shoot down everyone else's ideas for sustainability in favor for there one blanket solution... who could that be?