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President Obama Delivers a Message to the Our Ocean Conference

President Obama plans to create the largest marine sanctuary in the Pacific Ocean

Daksha Rangan
Digital Reporter

Thursday, June 19, 2014, 3:21 PM -

President Obama has announced a plan to create the largest marine sanctuary in the Pacific Ocean. In a video presented at the U.S. State Department’s “Our Ocean” conference on Tuesday, the president proposed a new initiative to protect marine wildlife and parts of the Pacific Ocean from environmental damage and overfishing.

The Pacific Ocean covers more of the earth’s surface than all of the land combined. It creates 50 per cent of the oxygen we breathe while absorbing excess carbon dioxide, and regulating our weather and climate. Today, the Pacific and its wildlife face several risks due to garbage patches, illegal fishing practices, and increasing levels of CO2. The negative outcome of these factors isn't limited to the environment and wildlife -- it also effects the economy.

“Pollution endangers marine life, overfishing threatens the whole species as well as the people who depend on them for food and their livelihoods. If we ignore these problems, if we drain our oceans of our 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, and we cannot afford to let that happen,” President Obama noted in the video statement.

The President plans to end overfishing off U.S. coasts while combating the global black-market fish trade. The Obama administration also recently proposed the first-ever national standards to limit the amount of carbon pollution that existing power plants produce.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio spoke at the State Department in Washington, D.C., earlier this week regarding his observation of the Great Barrier Reef before and after an 18-year time span.

“I’ve witnessed environmental devastation first-hand. What once had looked like an endless underwater utopia is now riddled with bleach coral reefs and massive dead zones,” DiCaprio said. The actor later took to twitter to announce his plan to support ocean conservation projects.

During his presidency in 2009, George W. Bush created a preserve covering 87-thousand square miles of the Pacific. President Obama plans to expand the existing preserve to more than 780-thousand square miles. This project will be one of few occasions that the President has used his executive authority, without action from Congress, for environmental protections.

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