Thursday the Aleutians East Borough assembly unanimously passed a resolution opposing the nomination of the Aleutian Islands as a national marine sanctuary.
The idea, proposed last month by a Non-Governmental Organization called Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER, would put more than a half million square nautical miles under federal protection as a sanctuary. That’s an area larger than the state of Alaska, and an area home to an enormous amount of commercial fishing and shipping.
The sanctuary would extend from 3 miles off the coastline of Bristol Bay all the way to the maritime border shared by the US and Russia, encompassing waters 200 miles north and south of the Aleutian Chain.
Aleutians East Borough says the potential designation could bring some quote, “onerous” restrictions to fishing and other commerce on those waters.
NOAA is required to conduct a 30 day preliminary review of the PEER proposal to determine whether the Aleutians are even eligible for sanctuary status.