Our Fate Is Tied to Our Ocean

It’s not an exaggeration to say that we depend upon the ocean for our very existence. It regulates our climate and our weather. It generates half of the oxygen we breathe. It provides food and income for billions of people. Covering almost three quarters of the planet, the mighty ocean is — without a doubt — a natural resource like no other. Our fate is inextricably tied to the ocean’s fate and the ocean is in trouble.

Many of the world’s fish stocks are depleted and continue to be overfished. Runoff and debris are choking our waters. The very chemistry of the ocean is changing, becoming more acidic because of the carbon we are pumping into the air. That’s the bad news. The good news is these problems can be solved. Fixing them, however, will require significant and sustained action by all of us — individually and together.

Ocean issues have come to the center of the world stage in the year since Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the first Our Ocean conference. That conference spurred action by heads of state, businesses, scientists, philanthropists, and NGOs to protect fish, keep plastic out of the ocean, and measure ocean acidification.

As part of this wave of action, President Obama expanded the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, making it the largest marine protected area (MPA) in the world. Gabon, the United Kingdom, Palau, and the Bahamas, among others, have recently committed to establishing new MPAs. We have a global goal of protecting 10 percent of coastal and marine areas by 2020. Working closely with other governments and NGOs, we are also exploring new technologies to monitor and enforce fishing bans in MPAs to ensure —> Read More