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Environment and Outdoors

Groups to Seek 'National Monument' Protection for Cashes Ledge

Conservation groups will this week officially call for the Cashes Ledge Closed Area in the Gulf of Maine to be designated a national monument.

At an event in Boston Wednesday, the Conservation Law Foundation, and others, will urge the White House to extend protections to the undersea mountain range - about 80 miles east of the Maine and Massachusetts coastlines.

Among those supporting the measure is Paul Dobbins, president of Ocean Approved, a Portland-based kelp-farming operation.

"Cashes Ledge is a unique area," Dobbins says. "It's the largest kelp forest on the eastern seaboard, and it acts as a marine refuge for all sorts of organisms and it's important for the breeding fish population."

Maine Gov. Paul LePage objects to the proposal, complaining that such a move would negatively affect many of the state's fishermen, who rely on what he calls "natural resources-based industries."