My letter to the State Department [based upon Greenpeace's petition]:
Why do you need to be told the following, and once told, why would you possibly ignore it other than for reasons of supporting hyper-greedy, stupid, destructive anti-environmentalists? It's a shame humanity finds itself in need of coercion, but...
There's almost no protection at all for the world's oceans. And it shows...
Companies like Chicken of the Sea are pushing some tuna and shark species to the brink of extinction in the Pacific Ocean with their destructive fishing practices.
Industrial fishing vessels are destroying the breathtaking coral habitats of the Bering Sea canyons and putting an entire ecosystem at risk.
Japanese, Icelandic and Norwegian whaling vessels continue to ignore international law and kill thousands of majestic whales from the Southern Ocean to the North Atlantic each year.
These challenges can be addressed together with a single solution — a network of fully protected marine reserves. So why is the State Department standing in the way?
It's time you take action to protect our oceans. I urge you to take the lead in establishing a network of marine reserves before it's too late.
Right now, less than one percent of the world's oceans are set aside as marine reserves. That's why we're working on a global agreement which would allow the international community to establish a network of marine reserves on the high seas. Unfortunately, the US government seems to be standing in the way of these efforts by refusing to join along with other countries who are in favor of developing a new agreement to create a network of marine reserves.
The high seas are like the Wild West at the moment. It might be good for the companies that are making billions off the destruction, but it is killing our oceans. If we don't start protecting and managing our oceans they aren't going to survive. Marine reserves are a proven and cost effective tool for protecting biodiversity, rebuilding fish populations, and enhancing fisheries in surrounding areas.
The best chance we have to get the international community on the right path toward creating a network of protected areas is this summer in Brazil. The US delegation is developing their position right now. We are paying attention.
A global network of fully protected marine reserves would benefit sea turtles, whales, tuna, seals, narwhals and any other creature (including humans) that you can think of.
The global oceans are facing an unprecedented crisis -- if we do not start protecting and managing them sustainably they are not going to survive. The high seas are currently like the Wild West, with many areas outside of law and enforcement. With over 99% of the high seas unprotected, they are the least protected part of the planet. An Oceans Rescue Plan that ends overfishing and creates a global network of marine reserves is urgently needed for a sustainable future for our oceans and the billions of people depending on them for food and income.
In June 2012 at the Rio+20 Summit, States could put an end to the Wild West in the high seas and kick start the Oceans Rescue Plan. A fundamental component of the Rescue Plan is a global agreement under the UN Convention on Law of the Sea that would enable governments to protect marine life in the high seas and act on their long-standing commitments to create a global network of marine reserves. An overwhelming majority of States support such an agreement and are willing to make the commitment in Rio, however a handful of States, in particular the US have been opposing progress.
We strongly urge the US government to stop standing in the way of high seas protection. The US is an undisputed global leader in both sustainable fisheries management and marine conservation within our own waters; The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act put US fisheries management at the forefront of science-driven sustainable fisheries management and is looked at as a model for fisheries reform around the world. The US is also one of the first nations to establish large scale Marine Reserves within our own EEZ. It is time for the US to now demonstrate this same strong leadership for marine conservation on the global stage.
The US must be part of building a solution for high seas protection at Rio that will safeguard our oceans now and for future generations.