In response to Obama's executive orders yesterday to the State Department “Our Ocean” conference; House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings made his own statement on what he considers a overreaching executive action. Oceans are intended to be multiple-use and open; as are our mountains, rivers, forests and federal lands. They should remain open for the wide range of economic activities that includes fishing, recreation, energy production and conservation.
Chairman Doc Hastings commented that the State Department just completed international fishery management agreements in the Pacific, that were science-based, and are working on changes within an existing international agreement that would allow greater access to the water in the South Pacific for United States tuna boats By Obama taking unilateral action to impose ocean zoning, to impose new regulations and increasing the layers of restrictive red-tape; Obama will obstruct all work already done and make the U.S. tuna fleet even less viable. His unilateral action will make it possible that all of United States tuna will be caught by foreign vessels.
The Our Ocean conference examined the steps fishery management authorities need to take in order to reduce over-fishing and to mitigate adverse impacts on the marine environment. Ecologist Boris Worm, in addressing the conference stated that overfishing is probably a worst problem than climate change or pollution. Overfishing and illegal catch has lead to a big decline in legal fisheries and, by some, is a threat to food security. Fishing is a $500 billion global industry, with one in six jobs being marine-related in the United States.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry; who has put protecting our ocean high on his to do list, started the conference with comments on how humans have caused enormous damage to the oceans not only in pollution but by over-fishing. According to the 2010 Census of Marine Life, 90 percent of large fish, like salmon, halibut, swordfish, are gone because of overfishing.