Scientists are showing great concerns regarding the future of high seas that are the areas of ocean that lie outside the national waters and cover roughly two-fifths of the Earth’s surface. These high seas are a habitat for many species that are also at risk from deep seabed mining, fishing, plastic pollution, and climate change.
Academics at Oxford and York universities have presented a new report that serves as a hope of securing the future of high seas with the help of a global treaty.
The report was compiled in partnership with Greenpeace and it divides the global oceans into 100km squared units. It further maps the wildlife distribution and their habitats.
A marine conservation biologist, Professor Callum Roberts said: “The speed at which the high seas have been depleted of some of their most spectacular and iconic wildlife has taken the world by surprise.”
“Extraordinary losses of seabirds, turtles, sharks and marine mammals reveal a broken governance system that governments at the UN must urgently fix.”
“This report shows how protected areas could be rolled out across international waters to create a net of protection that will help save species from extinction and help them survive in our fast-changing world.”
Both the government of UK and Greenpeace have welcomed the report. The designs that are put forward in it displace only about 20-30% of the existing fishing activity.
Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary said: “From climate change to over-fishing, the world’s oceans are facing an unprecedented set of challenges.”
“It is now more important than ever to take action and ensure our seas are healthy, abundant and resilient.”
“The UK is already on course to protect over half of its waters, and I join Greenpeace in calling for the UK and other countries to work together towards a UN high seas treaty that would pave the way to protect at least 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030.”