By Tred Barta
In September of 2016 President Obama declared by Executive Order that 5,000 square miles, approximately the size of Connecticut, laying 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod would be an aquatic national park.
In this Executive Order, he claimed that no commercial fishing would be allowed and that sport fishing could continue, but the future of sport fishing would be determined by the Department of Commerce. This proclamation was not based on science but was based on political payback.
This area on the continental shelf lies around Oceanographers, Lydonia, and Gilbert Canyons. Almost immediately upon this proclamation President Obama went after the Hudson, Wilmington, and Washington Canyons and had plans to proceed down the East Coast in the future all the way to Florida.
Let me give you some facts that should scare the hell out of you.
There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that the condition of this area is under any threat whatsoever from commercial and sports fishing. In fact this area has been fished for over 50 years. The area, as most of the Continental Shelf between Maine and Florida, is rich in red crab, squid, swordfish, yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, albacore, and lobster. The radical left environmentalists such as The Nature Conservancy, The Sierra Club, Oceana, and The Pew Charitable Trusts claims that the Aquatic National Park is extremely sensitive to any disturbance by man. By the way, these conservancy groups also say this is true of the entire Continental Shelf from Maine to Florida. Accusations of hurting whales, porpoises, birds, and other marine life all the way down to 3,000 feet and beyond is not true.
Last year 800,000 pounds of lobster were harvested from this area. It is as pristine today as it was 50 years ago. It is a fact that Obama has seized more land than any other president in history, putting his environmental legacy ahead of jobs, using evidence-free reasons. This Executive Order (Proclamation Decree) will immediately put into jeopardy about 10,000 jobs. The trickledown effect will put countless families and their livelihoods at risk.
Although Obama allowed sport fishing to continue, his Executive Order (Proclamation Decree) took the power and the legislative process away from NOAA, National Marine Fisheries (NMF), and ICCAT and gave it to the Department of Commerce, which has no right or business determining the future of sports fishing. What ex-President Obama did was unconscionable. What he did was immoral. I have been fighting very hard for President Trump to strike down with one stroke of his pen this Executive Order. Ex-President Obama used the Antiquities Act of 1916 to circumvent Congress and the legislative process to work.
If everyone in Florida thinks this is not important, just think how you would feel one day that fishing on the Islamorada Hump or the 409 Hump was deemed unfishable and it was declared a National Park.
It is an unmitigated fact that radical conservation groups are anti-hunting and anti-fishing. It is also an unmitigated fact that leftwing environmental groups are using the Continental Shelf Aquatic National Park as an opportunity to raise millions upon millions to put in the war chest to defeat Republican causes in the future. As a man dedicated to sport fishing for my entire life, I can tell you that commercial fishing is not the problem, the environmentalists are the problem.
The newly appointed Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, is a good guy. He has done a lot in a short time for people who hunt and fish. Ryan Zinke needs to walk into the White House with me, educate President Trump and strike this legislation down. It is as easy as that.
If you are a charter boat fishermen or recreational fishermen, what I tell you above should be of great concern.
My new book “Driven” describes a lot of my early exploration in the Northeast Canyons. It is a must-read for those of you who want to learn about what is going on in this issue but it also describes in detail the communities in which it affects.
Fishing legislation, whether it is sport fishing or commercial fishing, is supposed to be based on science. It is not based on politics. The word preservation basically means no access. The word conservation means suitable use of the natural resource so that it is sustainable. We cannot have a Department of Commerce making decisions with no science. The process of having the science, bringing it to Congress, having input from all parties and then making decisions based on this science I support and so should you. Having the future of our sport being determined by an endrun Executive Order is an insult to the American people and must be stopped.
Please write your Congressman, please write Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, and I beg you to ask for an immediate meeting with Captain Tred Barta.
If I can get to Zinke, I can get to President Trump and I can defeat this travesty with one signature from President Trump. One XO.
I beg you to take this seriously, and I don’t beg very often.
By the way, my new book “Driven” can be bought through Bartaway.com.
It follows my life step-by-step and shares some of the most adventuresome stories on the 100 fathom line that you could ever imagine. It also shares the horror of being paralyzed from my chest down.
Until Next Tide,
Captain Tred Barta
Tred Barta is an American hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman who hosts “The Best and Worst of Tred Barta” on the Versus Channel. As a fisherman, Barta has amassed several world records, some still current. Barta experienced spinal stroke and cancer in 2009, leaving him paralyzed from the armpits down. However, Barta continues to hunt and fish as he did before the accident. Overcoming limitations and fears is part of “The Barta Way.” To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.