Accessibility links

Breaking News

Protecting the Ocean

(FILE) A fisherman reels in his catch as the sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean.

By protecting the ocean, we protect all life on earth, and so protecting the ocean is a top priority of the United States.

Protecting the Ocean
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:03:48 0:00

The ocean is indispensable to life, producing over half of our oxygen, helping to regulate our climate, absorbing carbon dioxide, and supporting the greatest abundance of life on our planet. Moreover, it is a crucial engine of the global economy. But today it is in serious trouble. Pollution, over-fishing, climate change and loss of coastal habitats are all damaging the health of the ocean. By protecting the ocean, we protect all life on earth, and so protecting the ocean is a top priority of the United States.

“The work we are doing to protect the oceans is of dramatic importance that will define the future of our planet,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Jennifer Littlejohn.

To maintain marine sustainability, the United States is working toward ensuring sustainable fishing practices that align with science-based fisheries governance. And that means stopping illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, or IUU fishing; establishing marine protected areas; and addressing plastic pollution.

The United States “is working to end IUU fishing by collaborating with our partners both in governments and civil society, … to improve fisheries and ocean governance, support enforcement efforts, enable productive information-sharing, and raise ambition to end IUU fishing globally,” said Acting Assistant Secretary Littlejohn.

At the same time, the United States is advocating for expanding marine protected areas and strengthening their protections, both on the high seas and inside exclusive economic zones. Taking the initiative, we have set a goal to safeguard 30 percent of the land and coastal waters under our own jurisdiction, by the year 2030. “To encourage other nations to do the same, we launched the Ocean Conservation Pledge at the Our Ocean Conference in 2022. The pledge commits countries to conserve or protect at least 30 percent of the ocean under a country’s jurisdiction,” said Acting Assistant Secretary Littlejohn.

Finally, there is the question of plastic pollution, the silent killer of the ocean. The United States is developing its own plan for combatting this menace and working with a number of developing countries to build their capacity to make and implement ambitious commitments for the reduction of plastic waste.

“An important effort will be to involve the private sector and other non-government actors, as we will need innovation and investment to truly address the problem of plastic pollution,” said Jennifer Littlejohn. “The stakes could not be higher.”