Kerry calls for global research, action to protect oceans

Secretary of State John Kerry opened a State Department conference on problems with ocean ecosystems Monday by calling for international efforts toward research and laws to protect oceans from overfishing, pollution and climate change.

Kerry applauded regional and national actions to protection oceans, such as encouraging sustainable fishing and cutting down on trash, but said it is not enough.

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“If we are going to be able to honor our shared responsibility to protect the ocean, the ad hoc approach we have today with each nation and community pursuing its own independent policy simply will not suffice,” Kerry said. “We’re not going to meet this challenge unless the community of nations comes together around a single, comprehensive, global ocean strategy.”

Kerry called ocean protect a “vital international security issue,” since oceans support movement, livelihood and a large portion of the world’s population. Biologically, the oceans also serve to recycle water, carbon and nutrients for the planet.

Kerry that the two-day conference of scientists, world leaders, development officials and others to end with proposals that could help protect the world’s oceans.

Specifically, he called for a plan that requires fisheries to use technology that reduces the number of fish that are caught accidentally, designates more of the ocean as protected areas, reduces trash and pollution runoff and researches the effects of carbon pollution on oceans, among other factors.

“All of us can come together and each can help the other to ensure that every solution that we discuss is directly tied to the best science available,” Kerry said.