The Annual Our Ocean summit met again this year and through its speeches and information brought a stunning $1.8 billion dollars pledged to protect marine habitats around the world. The oceans are extremely important to humans and the Earth as it generates more than 50 percent of breathable oxygen and absorbed a great deal of the excess carbon dioxide as well as providing food and income for millions worldwide.
Our Ocean 2014 brought together leaders from business, government and academic institutions as well as Non Government Organizations from over 80 countries to discuss how the previously vastly different areas of economic developments and ocean conservation can be reconciled with each other. The summit concentrated on the key theme of ocean conservation which included sustainable fishing, marine pollution and ocean acidification. One of the most significant announcements of Our Ocean 2014 was President Obama's intention to expand and create new marine reserves in the Pacific Ocean. Alongside Kiribati's announcement to expand the already vast Phoenix Islands Protected Area if implemented, the plans would double the area of legally protected oceans.
One of the key problems Our Ocean sought to discuss was the overfishing of the ocean. Many of the world's fish stocks are being fished at unsustainable levels, it is estimated that 30 percent of the world's fisheries are being overexploited. Initiatives presented at the summit aimed to take steps in fishery management in order to ultimately stop overfishing and mitigate the adverse impacts. With the initiatives set in place, overfishing could be completely stopped by 2020 though only if extra measures are taken to increase transparency in the industry as well as enforcement of legislation and penalties for illegal fisheries.
To further this end, President Obama announced comprehensive new programs on seafood traceability and openness that will allow customers in the United States to know where their seafood comes from and if it was harvested both legally and sustainably.