After a unanimous vote on June 14, the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) adopted an official policy rejecting offshore oil drilling. The NEFMC is the body of stakeholders in charge of conserving and managing fishery resources in federal waters off the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
The Council’s new policy finds that the “environmental risks associated with offshore oil development and operations are not consistent with the Council’s vision for healthy and productive marine ecosystems supporting thriving, sustainable marine fisheries.”
In an unusual move, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) representative at the meeting also voted in favor of the policy – typically, NMFS abstains from such votes to preserve their ability to consider the action in the future. We commend the Council and the Northeast Administrator for putting the needs of the resource ahead of national politics. In fact, all three Atlantic fisheries management councils have publicly opposed offshore drilling, demonstrating that it has no place in sustaining healthy fisheries.
The Council is not opposed to all forms of offshore development: the new policy states that “renewable energy, if implemented in a manner which minimizes impacts on fish habitat and fisheries, may be more consistent with the Council’s vision for sustainable fisheries.”
Oceana applauds the NEFMC for taking this action and standing with American fishermen versus special interests from the oil and gas industry. Diane Hoskins, Oceana’s campaign director, says, “Now it’s time for President Trump to listen and reverse course on his plan to open nearly all U.S. waters to offshore drilling.”
To read the new policy, click here.
Voice your opposition to new offshore drilling here.