Local fishermen upset about new marine monument

GLOUCESTER, Mass. — President Obama has created the first marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean saying it's an effort to protect the planet from climate change.

The president said the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, located off George’s Bank, will help safeguard the oceans.

The monument consists of nearly 5,000 square miles including three underwater canyons and underwater mountains.

While the decision makes environmentalists happy, many fisherman said the announcement is deeply disappointing.

"People have made business plans to use this area and then all of a sudden the rug is getting pulled out from under them," commercial fisherman Al Cottone told
FOX25. "How do you plan for the future when you can be basically be shut down with a stroke of the pen?"

The head of the Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership and Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association said these farmers can't just pick up and move their operation.

"The ocean is huge but fish are not everywhere. Fish live in designated area by nature. Just like we live,” Angela Sanfilippo said.

The biggest impact will be to the commercial boats out of New Bedford.

"It's just a disappointing day,” fishing captain Jon Williams told FOX25 from his boat. "They gave my industry seven years in order to make adjustments so we have seven years to think about how we're going to do business afterwards."

Gov. Baker called the proclamation deeply troubling because it undermines the commercial fishermen. Back in November, he wrote a letter to the President outlining some of the environmental protection efforts in the regional already underway.