President Obama on Tuesday will announce his intent to make a broad swath of the central Pacific Ocean off-limits to fishing, energy exploration and other activities, according to senior White House officials.
The proposal, slated to go into effect later this year after a comment period, could create the world’s largest marine sanctuary and double the area of ocean globally that is fully protected.
The announcement — details of which were provided to the Washington Post — is part of a broader push on maritime issues by an administration that has generally favored other environmental priorities. The oceans effort, led by Secretary of State John F. Kerry and White House counselor John D. Podesta, is likely to spark a new political battle with Republicans over the scope of Obama’s executive powers.
The president will also direct federal agencies to develop a comprehensive program aimed at combating seafood fraud and the global black-market fish trade. In addition, the administration finalized a rule last week allowing the public to nominate new marine sanctuaries off U.S. coasts and in the Great Lakes.