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Oil industry threatening fishing sustainability

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Staff Writer | March 15, 2018
The Seafood Harvesters of America has expressed environmental concerns over the proposed draft of the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024.
Oil industry fishing
Seafood   National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program
Writing to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the organisation, which represents commercial fishermen and their associations and aims to ensure a sustainable seafood harvest for America through education, stewardship, and accountability in U.S. fisheries, threatens the fishing industry and its sustainability.

Christopher Brown. president of the Seafood Harvesters, said: “In our view the Draft Proposed Program released in January gives unbalanced weight to energy production.”

He stated the programme under-emphasis the directive of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to consider ‘economic, social, and environmental values of the renewable and nonrenewable resources contained in the outer Continental Shelf, and the potential impacts of oil and gas exploration on the resource values of the outer Continental Shelf and the marine, coastal and human environments.’

Highlighting the risks of offshore oil drilling, Mr Brown said that leaks and spills, vessel disablement, accidental groundings and collisions are all concerns.

The fishing industry and sustainability of US fisheries, alongside habitats and heritage and economies of coastal communities are also threatened.

He added that as national needs and values change “rapid advances in renewable energy production will increasingly provide policymakers with new opportunities to prioritize food security and rational climate policies over risky oil exploration and large-scale corporate profits.”

Criticism of limited public consultation was also addressed with Mr Brown pointing out that the Seafood Harvesters are “equipped” to help with community outreach in any future initiatives to better understand oil exploration and drilling impacts.