"If we drain our oceans of the resources, we won't just be squandering one of humanity's greatest treasures. We'll be cutting off one of the world's major sources of food and economic growth, including for the United States," he said. "And we can't afford to let that happen."

Carbon pollution is making the world's oceans more acidic, pollution is threatening marine life and overfishing could wipe out entire species, Obama said in his videotaped announcement.

"If we ignore these problems, if we drain our oceans of their resources, we won't just be squandering one of humanity's greatest treasures," Obama said. "We'll be cutting off one of the world's major sources of food and economic growth, including for the United States. We cannot afford to let that happen."

Using presidential authority that doesn't require new action from Congress, Obama said he was seeking the protection for "some of our most precious marine landscapes," just as Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have done.

The White House said the president is seeking to protect waters in the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, located in the south-central Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the U.S. territory of American Samoa.

Officials said the exact boundaries of the preserve have not been set, but that Obama could expand the protected area already in place from 225,000 square kilometers to more than two million.

The area would be off-limits to drilling, fishing and other actions that threaten fragile marine life, White House officials said.

President Barack Obama Talks About his Oceans Protection Proposal

Obama, who grew up in Hawaii, also called for the government to create a program to deter black market fishing as a way to further protect marine life.

"Today, I am building on that progress by directing the federal government to create a national strategy to combat black market fishing that threatens our oceans, undermines our economy and often supports dangerous criminals," the president said.

Black market fishing and seafood fraud, in which seafood products are mislabeled to hide where they were harvested, cost the legitimate fishing industry $23 billion a year, the White House said, as reported by the AP.

It's expected that Obama's executive action to protect the underwater Pacific will run into vigorous opposition from members of the deep sea fishing industry, including anglers who catch tuna, as well as some members of Congress.

Republican Congressman Doc Hastings of Washington State called the zoning proposal a "unilateral action" by an "imperial president" to impose new regulations and restrictions on economic activities, including fishing, recreation and energy production.

Hastings, who heads the House Natural Resources Committee, accuses the president of "blatant disregard" for possible economic consequences.

The Pacific Ocean Sanctuary plan could go into effect later this year following a public comment period.

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According to The Footprint Network, which measures the ability of the planet to produce resources and absorb waste, our resource use and waste production is 60% more than the earth can produce or absorb annually.

This overshoot is the result of decisions that we each make every day. We seek to generate debate and to influence people to change their behaviour.We strive to be catalysts: Success for us is when we can Change the Mindset so that sustainable use of resources is included in decision-making for individuals, government or businesses. ... read more


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