Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Five Years a Monument

I marked the five year anniversary of the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument by flying from Guam to Chuuk.

Five years on and there is still lots of confusion about this marine protected area.  Someone wrote a letter to the editor the day after the anniversary claiming that the CNMI had not been given jurisdiction of submerged lands surrounding the islands of Asuncion, Maug, and Uracas, which of course, it has.  The sumberged lands bill opened the area around the the islands to all methods of fishing, but also opened the door for co-management, so it is a mixed blessing it turns out is correct.  Holy shit!  Expect a blog about this.

There have been many benefits from the monument.  The CNMI has received recognition nationally and internationally, scientific interest in the trench has been reignited, and federally funded staff work in a federally funded office on Beach Road.  I wrote about some of these benefits in an editorial back in September.

I often wish I was on Saipan to fight the daily battles, but the burden to pass our natural heritage down to our children is not mine alone.  I am thankful for the Friends of the Monument who accept this responsibility as well.

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