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UN countries agree on the first ever treaty to conserve the world’s oceans that go beyond national boundaries; The High Seas Treaty.

This conclusion comes more than a decade after negotiations began in regards to the high seas and the biodiversity there-in.

The UN High Seas Treaty is aimed at diverting more funds into marine conservation corps as well as new guidelines for deap sea mining. This is expected to help rejuvenate biodiversity levels while ensuring sustainable development not only in economics but also in crucial scientific research.

What does the treaty entail?

To achieve the international target of protecting at least 30% of the earth’s oceans by 2030, an agreement was reached to place the globe’s international waters into protected zones.

This means that there will be restrictions in place regulating how much fishing can be done of a particular species in a particular area during a particular time. There will also be a regulatory policy controlling high sea activities for instance; deep sea mining and aquatic research.

“I think that this treaty that will lay the ground work for creating 30% of the ocean into marine sanctuaries that cannot be fished in is so important. We have to save these creatures,” addressed Jane Fonda, an activist in attendance of the UN High Seas Treaty forum.

Prior disagreements mostly came about due to variables in fishing rights with respect to corporate interests. Immense profits were projected to be gained by whichever country or corporation lands the sweetest deal. Apparently, important drugs like COVID Vaccines, HIV ARVs and Cancer treatment have for a while been developed from marine life.

Which Marine species are at risk?

Human activity has reportedly devastated marine species from mammals to corals alike. Reports show that the two biggest causes of marine extinction are air and marine pollution as well as overfishing.

“A bit more than a quarter of emitted carbon dioxide is actually being absorbed by the ocean. That makes the ocean much more acidic, which means that it’s going to be less productive and jeopardize certain species and ecosystems,” says Minna Epps, head of IUCN’s ocean team.

Some of the species facing high extinction levels include Sharks & Rays which are projected to be at a 90% extinction level. The next most endangered species are fishes which are currently at 67% extinction level. Reef corals are also on the list projected to be at 15% but rapidly rising and molluscs at 11% with the quickest rise yet calculated in the last few years.

School of Thought

As much as the UN High Seas Treaty seems like a breakthrough and a step in the right direction, there are still a few strides left to be taken before these measures are adopted globally.

A majority of the UN countries have to sign off on the treaty agreeing to implement the same within their individual governments. Among other countries, Russia was one of the countries that registered concerns over the final treaty.



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