U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed to more than double the world’s no-fishing areas to protect what some call America’s underwater Serengeti, a series of California-sized swaths of Pacific Ocean where 1,000-pound marlin cruise by 30-foot-wide manta rays around underwater mountains filled with rare or unique species.
A first-time U.S.-hosted summit on protecting the oceans has resulted in pledges worth some 800 million dollars to be used for conservation efforts.
The immense scale of the Pacific Ocean, at 165 million square kilometres, inspires awe and fascination, but for those who inhabit the 22 Pacific island countries and territories, it is the very source of life. Without it, livelihoods and economies would collapse, hunger and ill-health would become endemic and human survival would be threatened.
The world's smallest island nations wield more power than their sizes would suggest, with millions of square kilometres in their domains, said leaders of Pacific Island nations gathered at a special forum here in the Cook Islands.
Coastal fisheries in Papua New Guinea, used primarily by local subsistence fisher folk, will face increasing pressure from climate change, compounding the twin problems of population growth and overfishing.