U.S. and Chile announced on Monday, Oct. 5, that they will be creating new marine sanctuaries to help protect the oceans of the world. The U.S. government will also be taking steps to combat illegal fishing while Chile will be building the largest conservation park in the world.
The announcements were made in the second "Our Ocean" conference hosted by Chile this year. In this event, nations come together to address different issues involving the world's oceans. The conference was first held in the U.S. in 2014, where the government then pledged to advocate sustainable fisheries and decrease the acidification and pollution of stem oceans and marine life, respectively.
In a video message, U.S. President Barack Obama had declared that the administration will be pursuing the creation of two new marine conservation areas in Maryland and Lake Michigan in Wisconsin.
The proposed Maryland site will occupy 14 square miles of Mallows Bay-Potomac River while the Wisconsin site will take up 875 square miles of Lake Michigan. These two new sites are the first national marine areas that the government had announced since 2000.
Aside from the creation of new marine sanctuaries, U.S. also announced new initiatives to fight against illegal fishing worldwide.
Among the steps that will be started is the Sea Scout Launch, which is a global effort to conglomerate nations by targeting global assets and collaborations on detecting and punishing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will also help by employing new measures to provide tools, data and technical support to fight off illegal fishing.
Lastly, the government will also be taking steps against seafood fraud by devising a tracker system that will monitor seafood from harvest to entry into the U.S.
Illegal fishing has been a big problem for the U.S., and it is something that the government wants to address. John Kerry, the Secretary of State, said the government needs to make illegal fishing more challenging to get away with.
Meanwhile, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet had also announced that the country will be building a marine conservation park in Easter Island, a remote area which is about 2,362 miles west of Santiago in the center of the Pacific Ocean.
The island settlers known as the Rapa Nui have been calling for governmental action to help protect the fishing stocks and safeguard against overfishing of fish species like swordfish and tuna.
Other island chains will also be protected as a separate sanctuary will be created, including the Juan Fernandez archipelago. "Its creation allows us to protect the biodiversity and richness of the sea surrounding the islands," said Felipe Paredes, the mayor of Juan Fernandez.
Bachelet said that together, these new parks will be hosting one of the world's most compact marine sanctuaries and will be covering approximately 386,100 square miles of ocean.
"This is Chile's contribution to the ocean, so that our children and grandchildren may enjoy what we are doing here," Bachelet said in the conference.
Photo: Arian Zwegers | Flickr