Washington: US Secretary of State John Kerry said the oceans are facing threats from over-fishing, pollution and acidification, and called for "a comprehensive, global strategy" to protect them, media reported Tuesday.
Kerry made the remarks Monday while inaugurating a two-day international ocean conference hosted by the US Department of State, to discuss the danger to the oceans and concrete actions that should be taken, Xinhua reported.
Around 400 people from more than 80 nations, including World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, several heads of states as well as foreign ministers, were present at the "Our Ocean" conference held in Washington, D.C.
"Stewardship of our ocean is not a one-person event, it is a national event, it is a country event, it is a universal requirement all across this planet," Kerry told the conference participants.
"No one should mistake that the protection of our oceans is a vital international security issue," he said. "The ocean today supports livelihoods of up to 12 percent of the world`s population. But it`s also essential to maintain the environment in which we all live."
According to Kerry, one third of the world`s fish stocks are over exploited, and the rest are being fished to their absolute maximum sustainable level.
Meanwhile, marine pollution has created roughly 500 dead zones in the oceans, where life simply cannot exist.
"A significant chunk of marine life may simply die out because it can no longer live, no longer survive, in the oceans` water," said Kerry, who believed so far all the efforts to save the oceans "have only been applied on a relatively small scale and only applied in one region and another".
"We are not going to meet this challenge unless the community of nations comes together around a single comprehensive, global ocean strategy. That is the only way we can clean up our ocean today," said Kerry. "Now is the time to have an important conversation, to reach important conclusions, to try to put together a plan of action."