High Seas Treaty protects the world’s oceans

March 4th, the High Seas Treaty was drafted in New York after an agreement was reached by UN members.

The high sea makes up two-thirds of the world’s oceans and is considered international waters. Historically, however, only 1% of the High Seas have been protected with the rest allowing exploitation of ocean life. In a recent assessment of marine species, nearly 10% were found to be at risk of extinction. The International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN) found that 41% of these threatened species were also greatly affected by climate change. 

The High Seas Treaty was drafted in order to protect about 30% of the High Seas by 2030. It would limit fishing, deep-sea mining, and possible shipping routes in order to reduce the environmental harm caused to the high seas. Nations also agreed to share discoveries made in the deep sea with other nations, alongside assessing the environmental impact of their activities in the ocean. 

The conference president, Rena Lee of Singapore, announced that an agreement had been reached and that representatives would meet again so the agreement can be formally adopted.