Obama Declares First New Marine Sanctuaries In 15 Years

Meanwhile, in the United States, two marine sanctuaries will be created in Maryland and in Lake Michigan off Wisconsin, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a video address to the conference. “The real question is whether we, all of us on this planet, are going to adjust our ways in order to protect the ocean for generations to come”. And researchers continue to warn policy makers of the economic and biological costs of warmer, more acidic oceans.

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The new secured waters in the United States are the first to be assigned as being what is indicated in 15 years, the White House said in an announcement. The other sanctuary is a 14-square mile area of the Potomac River, which includes Maryland’s Mallows Bay – an area known for its ecological significance, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and home to bald eagles, herons, beavers, river otters and numerous species of fish.

Chile said on Monday it will create one of the world’s largest marine conservation parks, and Washington announced two new marine sanctuaries and an increased drive against illegal fishing to help protect the world’s oceans.

Taken together with its existing marine reserves, Bachelet said, Chile now has a million square kilometers of sea under protection from commercial fishing – “one of the biggest in the world”.

Also, apart from being a marine reserve, it would largely protect the waters from the oil and gas exploration that otherwise happens in these areas.

And the European Union will seek to increase its marine-protected areas from 6 percent of EU territorial waters to 10 percent by 2020, said Karmenu Vella, European commissioner for the environment, maritime affairs and fisheries. Such concerns are shared by the US, which imports 90 per cent of the fish it consumes, and Chile, whose coastline of nearly 2,500 miles is vital to the economy.

The Obama administration is also expected to tackle overfishing, promising to launch a global initiative called “Sea Scout” to identify unregulated and unreported activity and to help prosecute illegal fishing organizations. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expanding a program for detecting boats that use lights to attract fishery catch at night and will implement it in Indonesia, the Philippines and three other countries next year. Anyone who would like to export fish to America will have to conform to the states.

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Earlier this year, NOAA and the State Department unveiled the final action plan of the President’s Task Force on Combating IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud.

Obama just announced the first new marine sanctuaries in 15 years