Secretary Kerry, in his welcoming remarks today at Our Oceans 2014, highlighted some very promising directions for the Obama administration. Among other things, he said:
“Let’s develop a plan that protects more marine habitats, and we will have an announcement regarding that. I believe President Obama will make such an announcement.”
“Today, less than 2 percent of our ocean is considered a marine protected area, where there are some restrictions on human activity in order to prevent contaminating the ecosystem, less than 2 percent of the entire ocean. There isn’t anybody here who doesn’t believe we can’t do better than that. So let’s start by finding a way to perhaps bring that number up to 10 percent or more as soon as possible.”
“Finally, we need to develop a plan that not only lays out the policies we need to protect our ocean, but that also considers how we are going to enforce those policies on a global scale. Because without enforcement, any plan we create will only take us so far. “
“It was back in the ’90s, if I recall correctly, that Ted Stevens and I joined forces to take driftnet fishing to the United States. And we had become aware of literally tens of thousands of miles of monofilament netting that was dragged behind a boat that would literally strip-mine the ocean with vast proportions of the catch thrown away and clearly not sustainable.”
We look forward to hearing what President Obama says about marine habitats on Tuesday and expect that it will be a step in the right direction for protecting marine biodiversity.