October 5, 2015
Office of the Spokesperson
At Chile’s 2015 Our Ocean conference, the United States committed to a series of concrete actions to protect precious ocean areas and marine resources, continuing last year’s momentum.
• The United States is moving to protect waters of historic and national importance by initiating the creation of the first new National Marine Sanctuaries since 2001, one in the State of Maryland and the other in the Great Lakes.
• Negotiations are underway on a new sister marine protected area arrangement between sites in Cuba and the United States focusing on scientific research, education and outreach, and sound management.
• The United States will establish an integrated seafood traceability program to track seafood from harvest or production to entry into U.S. commerce, starting with marine species considered to be most at risk of being caught illegally or mislabeled.
• The United States will launch Sea Scout, a new global initiative to unite governments and other stakeholders worldwide in the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing by focusing global assets and partnerships on identifying, interdicting, and prosecuting IUU fishing organizations and networks around the world.
• The United States has launched the Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans), a five-year, $20 million initiative by the U.S. Agency for International Development to promote sustainable marine fisheries and combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud in the Asia-Pacific region.
• The United States has created the Caribbean Oceans and Assets Sustainability Facility (COAST) – a new insurance product to reduce the risk that climate change poses to the fishing industry and related food security in the Caribbean region by allowing countries to buy insurance to help protect their fisheries sector from severe weather.
• The United States and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme are launching a new partnership in the Wider Caribbean Region to implement Trash Free Waters, a collaborative approach to reduce land-based sources of trash and marine debris.
• The United States will commit over $1.5 million in 2016 to work with partners to remove marine debris from sensitive ecosystems in the United States and to develop innovative projects that change behavior to minimize the amounts and impacts of marine debris.
• The United States’ second annual Fishackathon, held in twelve cities around the world in 2015, resulted in more than 40 apps to help fishers work smarter and more safely in sustainable fishing. The third Fishackathon will be held on Earth Day weekend in 2016.
• The United States and China announced a partnership between the coastal cities of Xiamen and Weihai in China and San Francisco and New York in the United States to share best practices related to waste management to reduce the flow of trash into the ocean.
• The United States and several public and private sector partners established a Global Development Alliance to advance economic incentives for conserving biodiversity and sustainably managing local fisheries through managed access.
• The United States is supporting the development of waste-to-energy demonstration projects in the APEC economies of the Philippines and Indonesia, including in the cities of Dagupan, Angeles, and Bandung.
• The United States will further develop and make available an application to assist in detecting ocean-going vessels at night using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), a space-based sensor, in order to target potentially illegal fishing.
• The United States is working to create a new and innovative public-private partnership involving several foundations that would provide resources to enhance the ability of African coastal States to monitor and better understand ocean acidification in the Indian Ocean.
• The United States will commission this year the $582 million S. Ocean Observatories Initiative – a system of moorings, gliders, and autonomous underwater vehicles located across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to collect critical ocean measurements, and make the information freely available online.
• The United States will invest over $21 million in the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling project (SOCCOM), a robotic observing system collecting key data in the Southern Ocean to transform our understanding of its role in climate change.
• The United States will allocate another $370,000 through the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Peaceful Uses Initiative to the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Center (OA-ICC) located at the Environment Laboratories in Monaco.
• Building on and reaffirming previous commitments, the United States committed not to provide subsidies to vessels, enterprises, or operators engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and invited other governments to do the same.
• The United States and Chile deployed two tsunami sensing buoys in seismically active Chilean waters, helping to improve preparation time for coastal communities, and agreed to work together on joint research, tsunami forecasting, community education, and maintenance of the tsunami sensing network.
• The United States will host the next Our Ocean conference in the United States in 2016.
For further information, please visit http://www.state.gov/ourocean.