WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's administration will announce steps on Monday to create marine sanctuaries in Maryland and Wisconsin and will take further action to combat illegal fishing, the White House said.
The proposed sites - a 14-square-mile (36-square-km) section in the Mallows Bay-Potomac River waters of Maryland, and an 875-square-mile (2,265-square-km) area of Wisconsin's Lake Michigan, will be the first new National Marine Sanctuaries since 2000, the administration said. The proposals will be open for public comment through Jan. 15, 2016.
In a video address on Monday to the second "Our Ocean" international conference in Chile, Obama plans to say that "he will look for opportunities to protect even more of our waters in the months ahead," the White House added.
It said the State Department would announce during the conference additional steps and commitments from the United States and other governments to protect the world's oceans.
Also on Monday, the State Department will launch a global initiative, called Sea Scout, to help in the fight against illegal and unregulated fishing, the White House statement said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will announce steps as well to provide data and technical assistance to target illegal fishing, including a space-based monitoring sensor that will be implemented next year in Indonesia, the Philippines and three other countries.
(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)