The 30×30 Initiative, which seeks to place 30% of the planet’s lands and waters under protected status by 2030 and which has the support of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), has provoked strong opposition from the country’s seafood industry.
More than 800 professionals from the sector have joined forces to resist legislation they believe could restrict commercial fishing in US federal waters. Wholesalers, vessel owners, trade association leaders and others have signed a letter urging Arizona Democrat Raul Grijalva, Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee, to reconsider the provisions of his Ocean Climate Change bill, reports www.undercurrentnews.com.
“We are genuinely taken aback that you are choosing to introduce legislation that puts the viability of our industry under a dark cloud of uncertainty, for no discernible reason attached to meaningful improvements in conservation outcomes,” says the letter. According to the coalition, the proposed sweeping changes are not in accord with US fishery policy.
However, leading fishing, hunting and conservation bodies have expressed strong support for 30×30 and have established a website www.Huntfish3030.com to provide information about the initiative and set up a petition for anglers and hunters to make their voices heard. “America’s 50 million recreational fishermen not only have a significant economic impact of $125 billion annually, but also contribute substantially to conservation through excise taxes, fishing license purchases and direct donations,” said ASA President Glenn Hughes.
“Continued access to our nation’s fisheries is critical for maintaining and building our stewardship of these resources. Recreational fishing is entirely compatible with conservation targets like the 30×30 Initiative.” Other organisations supporting 30×30 include the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, the Center for Sportfishing Policy, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
The bill promises big changes for commercial harvesters, including a significant expansion in the number of wind farms. But it is the 30×30 provision that the coalition rails against in its letter. If passed, the bill would create a task force to develop a plan prohibiting any commercial extractive or destructive human activity on at least 30% of the ocean under United States jurisdiction by 2030.
It is reported that new President Joe Biden has pledged that the 30×30 provision will among executive orders on his first day in office.