In the face of myriad international crises ranging from airstrikes in Syria to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, President Barack Obama recently moved oceans to the front burner—at least for a moment or two. On September 25, he exercised power established by the Antiquities Act to increase the size of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument sixfold, creating what is now the world’s largest marine protected area and permanently prohibiting industrial activities such as commercial fishing and subsea mining within its bounds.
This action represented a huge win for oceans, but realities of the modern seafood trade require that it not be the president’s last.
When President Obama first announced his intention to expand the Pacific Remote Islands monument in June, he also launched an initiative to tackle the worsening scourge of illegal fishing—also known as black market or pirate fishing—and seafood fraud. Despite the urgency of the events currently making headlines, the Obama administration must keep these ocean initiatives on the agenda and deliver reform on federal oversight of seafood safety and traceability.
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