Capital Briefs

Obama to create world’s largest ocean preserve

In another push to protect the environment, President Obama is trying to create the largest marine preserve in the world. He aims to protect a stretch of the Pacific Ocean from drilling, fishing, and other wildlife-threatening actions.

Obama also wants to create a program to prevent illegal fishing. The president was to announce his plans Tuesday in a video message to participants at the “Our Ocean” conference hosted by the State Department and Secretary of State John Kerry.

CBS reported:

Officials said Obama is considering a massive expansion to the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. The protected waters surround a group of mostly uninhabited islands, controlled by the U.S., that sit between Hawaii and American Samoa.

But the White House hasn’t settled on the final boundaries for the preserve. The administration said it planned to solicit input from fishermen, scientists, politicians, experts in conservation and others before the new protections take effect.

The White House’s Council on Environmental Quality said the waters in the south-central Pacific Ocean contain “some of the most pristine tropical marine environments in the world.”

Obama also hopes to combat the illegal sale of fish. The White House said 20 percent of the wild marine fish caught every year are part of the black market.

Some Republican lawmakers criticize Obama for going around Congress to push such legislation. But then, sidestepping Congress is Obama’s specialty.

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