UN inks first ‘High Seas Treaty’ in a bid to protect ocean bodies of the world

Tags: Environment International News

world's oceans located outside national boundaries.

For the first time in history, the United Nations signed the 'High Seas Treaty' to protect the world's oceans located outside national boundaries.

An overview of the news

  • The treaty is the result of nearly a decade of negotiations on environmental concerns.

  • The treaty was agreed upon on 4 March after 38 hours of negotiations at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

  • The last international agreement on ocean conservation was signed 40 years ago in 1982.

What is the UN High Seas Treaty?

  • The treaty will create a new body to manage the conservation of marine life and establish marine protected areas in the high seas.

  • The treaty brings 30 percent of the world's oceans into a protected area, spends more on marine conservation, and sets new rules for ocean mining.

  • The treaty aims to protect against potential impacts such as deep-sea mining.

  • The treaty would put restrictions on how much fish could be caught in the high seas.

What are High Seas?

  • International water bodies that cross the boundaries of nations are considered high seas.

  • They cover about two-thirds of the world's oceans.

  • These are water bodies where all countries have the right to fish, sail and conduct research.

  • But so far only about 1% of this water – known as the high seas – has been protected.

  • These are also important areas for exploration of valuable minerals, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas reserves.

Vulnerable marine species

  • According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), about 10% of marine species are at risk of extinction.

  • In addition, 41% of threatened species are affected by climate change.

  • Shellfish, sharks and whales are under particular pressure due to their use as seafood and medicines.

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