| WASHINGTON, June 16
WASHINGTON, June 16 U.S. Secretary of State John
Kerry on Monday called for a global regime to protect the
oceans, which he said were under threat from too much fishing,
acidification from climate change, and marine pollution.
Kerry opened the two-day "Our Ocean" conference at the State
Department with a call for all nations to move beyond talks and
studies to taking specific steps toward a global agreement to
protect the oceans.
"We are not going to meet this challenge unless the
community of nations comes together around a single
comprehensive global ocean strategy," Kerry said.
Kerry, a longtime advocate of measures to address climate
change when he was in the U.S. Senate, said current piecemeal
national policies to protect the world's oceans failed to
address problems that will affect the entire planet.
"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. "That
is not how the ocean works."
Only 2 percent of the world's oceans are protected areas
that limit human activity and protect marine life, and countries
should strive to raise that to 10 percent, he said.
Kerry added that any global effort to protect the ocean
should include ways to enforce those policies on a global scale.
Joining Kerry was Kiribati President Anote Tong, who said
the small Pacific nation would ban commercial fishing from its
Phoenix Islands Protected Area by Jan. 1
The low-lying state, consisting of 33 islands, is highly
vulnerable to rising sea levels, one of the most severe impacts
of climate change. Most of Kiribati's land is less than 2 meters
(79 inches) above sea level.
Tong called climate change "the greatest moral challenge of
our time" and said that "our hope of addressing climate change
lies in the oceans."
"This is about the survival of our people," Tong said. "This
is not about economics - not anymore. It is now about what we
must do as responsible global citizens."
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Ros Krasny and Lisa