Secretary Kerry Hosts High-Level Ocean Meeting in New York City

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 25, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry today convened a high-level ocean meeting on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. It was co-hosted with the Foreign Minister of Mozambique, Oldemiro Balói, and Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) José Graziano. “Our Ocean: Next Steps on Sustainable Fishing and Marine Protected Areas,” brought together a diverse group of ministers and other senior officials from approximately 25 countries, as well as philanthropic and civil society leaders. It was designed to build a new synergy between political decision makers driving change on ocean conservation.

The event built upon the momentum generated by Secretary Kerry’s Our Ocean conference, held at the State Department on June 16-17, 2014. Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz participated in the meeting and highlighted his country’s role as host of next year’s Our Ocean conference in Valparaíso, Chile.

Secretary Kerry stressed the critical role marine protected areas play in safeguarding the ocean. He praised President Obama’s historic expansion of the U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, from its current size of roughly 82,000 square miles to 490,000 square miles - almost twice the size of the State of Texas, making it the largest area in the world where commercial fishing is banned. This step bolsters the health of the ocean and advances the specific goal of Secretary Kerry’s June 2014 Our Ocean conference Action Plan, which called for preserving 10 percent of the world’s coastal and marine areas by 2020.

Secretary Kerry and his co-hosts also noted the vital link between sustainable fisheries and food security. He urged countries to join the Port State Measures Agreement, a new treaty to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. Meeting participants emphasized the need for capacity building to ensure effective implementation and enforcement of fisheries and conservation measures.