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Obama cracks down on illegal fishing

Fishermen in Indonesia
Fishermen in Indonesia
Photo by Michael Eko/Getty Images

President Obama released a memorandum this week calling for a crackdown on illegal fishing. The United States is one of the largest fish markets in the world and the hope is that by leading the way on this issue, other countries will soon follow suit.

This comes at what seems to many environmentalists as a significant time in Obama’s administration, as he continues a trend of serious actions in an effort to better protect the environment. Earlier this month Obama released plans to cut down on carbon emissions in power plants by allowing each state to only release a certain amount of carbon into the atmosphere every year, while simultaneously calling for more productivity in the way of natural gas and renewable resources.

The illegal fishing industry contributes $10-23 billion to the black market annually and in addition to its damaging effects on marine ecosystems, it also has an immense impact on fisherman, as 20-32 percent of the seafood imported to the United States is illegally caught.

Secretary of State John Kerry said that this would “ensure all seafood sold in the United States is both sustainable and traceable, meaning customers will know exactly who caught it, where and when.”

Also this week, the administration announced plans to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. The preserve, started under President Bush, was established to keep the region safe from illegal fishing, drilling and any other actions that would adversely affect the native wildlife. Although this particular region is not under any direct threat, environmentalists always welcome protecting as much land as possible, and Obama’s plans could even double the area currently under protection.