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WWF: Administration Action on Illegal Fishing and Marine Protection Marks Turning Point for Oceans

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) today issued the following statement from Michele Kuruc, acting senior vice president for marine conservation, in response to President Obama’s decision to expand US marine protected areas and create a new initiative to prevent illegally caught fish from reaching US markets:

“The administration recognizes that ending illegal fishing around the world is critical to safeguarding the health of our planet’s oceans. Illegal fishing not only harms our marine ecosystems, it costs the global community upwards of $23 billion a year and undercuts the honest fishers and businesses committed to playing by the rules.

“It’s clear that the President and Secretary Kerry understand the importance of protecting our oceans. WWF welcomes today's announcement which could double the area of ocean that is fully protected. By expanding marine protected areas and combatting black market fishing, the administration is using the power of the presidency to secure the long-term health of our oceans and the livelihoods they support.

“While Illegal fishing hurts US consumers, fishers, and businesses, it is a complex global issue requiring bold action from all nations. As one of the top seafood importers in the world, the US has a responsibility to ensure that every fish bought in our stores, markets, and restaurants is fully traceable to where it was legally caught.”

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