At the 2015 Our Ocean Conference in Valparaiso, Chile, October 5-6, participants committed to over 80 new initiatives on marine conservation and protection valued at more than $2.1 billion, as well as new commitments on the protection of more than 1.9 million square kilometers (nearly 735,000 square miles) of the ocean. The United States’ initiatives include:
- Launching the Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans), a five-year, $20 million USD initiative by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to promote sustainable marine fisheries and combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud in the Asia-Pacific.
- Supporting the development of waste-to-energy demonstration projects in the APEC economies of the Philippines and Indonesia, including in Bandung.
- Announcing the launch of Sea Scout, a new global initiative that seeks to unite governments and other stakeholders worldwide in the fight against IUU fishing by focusing global assets and partnerships on identifying, interdicting, and prosecuting IUU fishing organizations and networks around the world.
U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Robert O. Blake, Jr. stated: “The United States’ partnership with Indonesia to protect our oceans through marine biodiversity conservation and combatting IUU helps ensure livelihoods and food security for millions of people.”
In addition to these new initiatives, the United States and Indonesia are already working together on marine conservation, evidenced by contributions of the U.S. government, through USAID’s $35 million USD over the past several years and another $33 million USD in the next five years to protect marine resources and promote sustainable fisheries in Indonesia. This ten-year combined initiative is designed to:
- Support strategic marine-sector planning and help the Government of Indonesia right-size fishing effort to sustain production and economic yield;
- Protect millions of hectares of marine protected areas, including those reflecting the highest biodiversity on earth;
- Deploy cutting edge science and technology, such as by using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) to identify boats that use lights to attract fish at night, in order to target potentially illegal activities for further inspection.
The United States, as host of the 2016 Our Ocean conference, looks forward to working with partners around the world on addressing critical ocean issues including sustainable fishing, marine pollution, ocean acidification, and marine protected areas.
The complete summary of announcements from this year’s conference can be found here: www.state.gov/ourocean.