President Barack Obama is in the midst of creating the largest ocean preserve in the entire world. Earlier today, the president announced plans for the massive marine preserve in the Pacific Ocean. Environmental groups are heralding the protection of pristine waters initiative, but the fishing industry reportedly plans to steadfastly oppose the Obama administration measure.
During an oceans conference hosted by the State Department, President Obama had this to say about creating the world's largest ocean preserve via a video message, "We can protect our oceans for future generations" but utilizing his "authority as president" to safeguard "some of our most precious marine landscapes." Actor Leonardo DiCaprio was among those who attended the oceans conference organized by the federal government.
President Obama did not offer any details about the creation of the massive ocean preserve. Administration officials did state that the president is considering a comprehensive expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. The move would protect the ocean are from fishing, drilling, and other actions, according to Obama administration officials. The currently protected water surround islands which are largely uninhabited between American Samoa and Hawaii.
If the president is successful, the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument area will be expanded from 87,000 square miles to approximately 782,000 square miles. Before leaving the Oval Office in 2009, President George W. Bush created the preserve – which includes seven islands.
The tuna industry is expected to be the leading group in the opposition against the expansion of the ocean preserve. Congressional Republicans have deemed President Obama's plan yet another attempt to push the boundaries of executive power. Some opposed to the plan have also raised Agenda 21 concerns.
House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings does not support the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument expansion plan as explained in President Obama's video message. "It's another example of this imperial presidency. If there are marine sanctuaries that should be put in place, that should go through Congress," the Washington Republican said.White House representatives maintain the President Obama has not yet determined the boundaries or size of the expanded ocean preserve. Administration officials also stated that the president plans on "soliciting input from fishermen, scientists, politicians, and other experts in conservation" before the new ocean preserve protections are set in stone.
A statement from the White House after the State Department oceans conference reads:
"These tropical coral reefs and associated marine ecosystems are also among the most vulnerable areas to the impacts of climate chance and ocean acidification."What do you think about President Obama creating the world's largest ocean preserve?
[Image Via: Scripps Institute of Oceanography]