Target: Secretary of State John Kerry
Goal: Praise the Obama administration’s creation of the largest marine sanctuary on the planet
The Obama administration has announced its intention to significantly expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to create the largest marine sanctuary in the world. At 782,000 square miles, this commerce-free zone would more than double the area of ocean that is currently protected globally. The proposed expansion would end tuna fishing in the area, and protect hundreds of species of threatened marine mammals, sea turtles, sharks, and fish. The U.S. currently governs more open sea than any other country in the world, controlling more than 13 percent of the ocean area that is overseen by nations.
The original monument, which is just under 87,000 square miles, was created under the Antiquities Act by President George W. Bush in 2008. President Bush also set the previous record for largest marine sanctuary, when he protected 140,000 miles of ocean off the coast of Hawaii in 2006. Despite this precedent, Republicans in Congress have already expressed opposition to the plan, calling it “another example of this imperial presidency” and claiming that “this administration will use whatever authorities—real or made-up—to close our ocean and coastal areas with blatant disregard for possible economic consequences.” According to experts familiar with the remote islands, commercial tuna fishing, which makes up a tiny fraction of a percentage of the American economy, will likely be the only industry affected by the new sanctuary.
The announcement came on the first morning of an oceans conference hosted by the State Department, at which Secretary of State John Kerry called for the creation of a global ocean strategy to protect marine ecosystems from the threats posed by climate change, pollution, and overfishing. In addition to the creation of the sanctuary, the administration is also working to develop a comprehensive program to deter illegal fishing, address seafood fraud, and prevent illegal fish from entering the market. Thank Secretary Kerry for his dedication to preserving our ocean environments for future generations.
Dear Secretary Kerry,
The vast oceans of our world are absolutely indispensable to our continued survival on this planet. Your global ocean strategy is the best hope we have of working together to ensure a healthy marine environment for future generations.
So little of the seas remains untouched by human activity, and it is imperative that we preserve what habitat remains. Thank you for your commitment to protect this irreplaceable natural resource.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bruno de Giusti via Wikimedia Commons