“The time to do it is now, not wait until the damage is done,” Sewell said.
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The designation will close the area to commercial fishermen, who go there primarily for lobster, red crab, squid, whiting, butterfish, swordfish and tuna.The lobstermen's association and other fishermen wanted the White House to allow fishing in depths of up to 450 meters, so they could still go there but deep-sea corals would have been protected.White House officials said that the administration listened to industry's concerns and made the monument smaller, with a seven-year transition period for the lobster and red crab industries.Palombo and others questioned why, if the area is considered pristine and fishermen have been going there for decades, can't fishing continue?Priscilla Brooks, of the Conservation Law Foundation, said it's a "very small area" compared to what's currently open to fishing. She said the White House struck a balance so there would be a "soft landing" for the industry, with seven years to phase out fishing.Affected fishermen Wednesday formed the Southern Georges Bank Fishing Coalition to oppose the monument.
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