By Kate Good
What incredible news! Since coming into office, President Obama has vowed to outdo his predecessors and make a real positive impact on the health of the planet. Working to enact climate laws and put restrictions on coal plant pollution, Obama is now taking action to protect the world’s oceans.
Recently, a number of world governments have set out to create marine preserves around their territories in an effort to protect marine ecosystems. The situation with marine ecosystem collapse is no small matter either; it has been predicted that, by 2050, entire ocean ecosystems could vanish from our oceans, spelling disaster for essentially all life on Earth.
Obama announced this morning that he plans to create a massive preserve, banning drilling, fishing, and other commercial activities from a large portion of the Pacific Ocean. This action does not require approval from Congress (i.e. where conservation legislation goes to die) and will protect waters expanding between Hawaii and American Samoa, a span of about 1.5 million square miles. Not too shabby, Mr. President.
In a video message announcing these plans, Obama stated, “If we ignore these problems, if we drain our oceans of their resources, we won’t just be squandering one of humanity’s greatest treasures…We’ll be cutting off one of the world’s major sources of food and economic growth, including for the United States. We cannot afford to let that happen.”
Indeed, we cannot afford to allow this massive ecological collapse to happen and, in addition to this measure, Obama has vowed to take steps to end the black market sale of fish and to ramp up efforts to fight seafood origin fraud.
This is the first step toward creating sustainable practices in the commercial fishing industry and could potentially lead to greater protection of marine species into the future. The positive impact of this landmark decision is yet to be seen, but I am confident it is a move that will surely not be regretted.