Amid a global pandemic, tensions over race relations and a struggling economy, President Donald Trump opts instead to dismantle environmental protections created during Barack Obama’s presidency on almost 5,000 square miles of ocean floor off the East Coast.

Trump claims allowing commercial fishing in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument will jump-start the Maine fishing industry, which has suffered severe setbacks in the wake of Covid-19. Historically, though, less than 5 percent of all regional catch has come from this area, and changing the rules will have little actual impact on the livelihoods of the fishers. The real issues the Maine fishing industry faces have to do with Chinese tariffs imposed as a result of Trump’s trade war and questions of how to protect endangered whale species without decreasing lobster yields. Trump had little to say on either point, instead opting for an ultimately useless rollback of important environmental regulations.

The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument is home to three canyons, four volcanoes and nine ecosystems. The area is home to many endangered species and fragile biomes which could take centuries – if ever – to recover from disturbances such as deep-sea fishing. Protected marine areas are vital for research and are a unique place for many species to thrive. Climate change is already threatening these fragile areas, and Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the danger puts all of us and our future in dire danger.

If Trump really wants to help the Maine fishing industry, this is not the way forward. It is time for Trump to realize that climate change is not a bipartisan issue and to do his job: Protect the American public against the dangers of a rapidly warming world. 

Annabel Xu, Curtis Street, Somerville