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Poster of the World Ocean Summit. (Image: The Economist)

Ocean Summit begins with US proposal for a watchdog

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Thursday, February 27, 2014, 04:20 (GMT + 9)

The proposal to create an international body within the UN governing the seas was the focus this Tuesday at the beginning of the Ocean Summit. In this international meeting, world leaders emphasized its fast degradation and increasing pressure to further exploit its resources.

“Of course we need a global framework of some kind by which people sign up and agree to cooperate. But we not only need the rules, we need the regulatory enforcement process," said U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, via videoconference during the summit opening.

The meeting, hosted by The Economist and National Geographic, began on Tuesday near San Francisco with the intervention of Kerry, who announced that President Barack Obama supports the creation of a UN’s body to regulate the seas.

“We’re going to have to build a very significant political effort around this issue. We have to summon the global cooperation so that we can take the steps necessary to protect our oceans for generations to come," US Secretary stressed at another moment in his speech.

He also emphasized that in addition to overfishing, another serious problem threatening the survival of the oceans is pollution, which has led about 500 regions of the world oceans to have no marine life.

Some of the figures released during the first day of the ocean conference highlight the magnitude of the problem: Only one out of 500 vessels is checked for compliance with the requirements of sulphur emissions, and those who pass the review, only 50 per cent meet the regulations.

Kerry said that nearly 1,000 million people depend on daily fishing, and fisheries worldwide generate about USD 500,000 million a year, of which USD 115,000 million are related to US sales alone.

He announced that this year, the State Department will organize an international conference on oceans in Washington to advance the global agenda of ocean protection, EFE reported.

Prince Charles, who participated in the conference via video message, also stressed the economic value of the oceans.

"Oceans provide huge wealth and sustain a large part of our global economy," said the heir to the British throne.

Prince Charles said that sustainable development of the oceans is possible and emphasized that sustainable fisheries are more profitable.

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