ocean

Purveyors of seafood fraud will have to get past President Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio, who announced earlier this week their commitments to protecting the nation’s oceans and increasing efforts to stop illegal fishing practices, which have become widespread in recent years.

President Obama made his announcement via video at the global Our Ocean conference held by the State Department on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.. The president articulated the challenges our oceans are facing as a result of global warming, overfishing and pollution—all of which are putting enormous pressure on marine life and the humans who depend on it. “We cannot afford to let that happen,” he said. “That’s why the United States is leading the fight to protect our oceans.”

President Obama said his administration would be directing federal agencies to create programs to stop illegal fishing and the diffuse black-market fish trade seafood fraud—practices that have become rampant across the globe.

According to the Washington Post, President Obama’s proposal, which would go into effect later this year, could also create “the world’s largest marine sanctuary and double the area of ocean globally that is fully protected.” The Post reports that two independent analyses expect that the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument would be expanded from almost 87,000 square miles to nearly 782,000 square miles, “all of it adjacent to seven islands and atolls controlled by the United States. The designation would include waters up to 200 nautical miles offshore from the territories.”

“But for this effort to succeed, it has to be bigger than just one country,” President Obama said.

Actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio said his foundation has committed to spending $7 million on ocean conservation over the next two years.

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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