At the Our Oceans conference, spearheaded by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Leonardo pledged $7M in funding to help support a monumental effort that will protect more than 772,000 square miles of ocean territory. Other contributions announced at the conference from the U.S. and the international community totaled nearly $2 billion.
In conjunction with the conference, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a memorandum aimed at curbing “illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud.”
Scientists have found that the health of the planet’s fisheries are imperiled by a combination of overfishing — which has driven some species, such as Atlantic Cod and Bluefin Tuna, to the brink of extinction — as well as ocean acidification from rising amounts of carbon-dioxide emissions that also cause global warming. Today, the ocean is 30% more acidic than it was before the Industrial Revolution. And, the chemistry of the ocean is changing 1ox faster than at any other time in the past 50 million years.
The ocean covers almost 3/4 of our planet and is critical to maintaining life on earth. It regulates the climate and weather, generates half of the oxygen we breathe, and absorbs excess carbon. No matter where people live, they depend on the ocean for the food they eat and the air they breathe. So by protecting our oceans we are also protecting future generations.
The joint effort will work towards developing sustainable fisheries, reducing direct pollutants entering the oceans, and helping find solutions to reducing ocean acidity and other impacts on marine ecosystems caused by global warming.