Protect The High Seas From Harm

Nature published an article titled, “Protect The High Seas From Harm” The article reads in part as follows;

“In a rare diplomatic breakthrough — and good news for marine scientists and conservationists around the world — nations agreed in 2016 to protect a huge area of ocean off the coast of Antarctica from commercial fishing and other harmful activities. That success came only after years of failed discussions. It was followed by another positive step: in December, Arctic Council countries decided not to fish industrially in the Arctic Sea.

These are good signs. Still missing, though, is a more significant agreement — a mechanism that would allow governments to create marine reserves in ecologically crucial ocean regions beyond any national jurisdiction.

Could the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea fill the gap? The UN thinks so. On 24 December, it convened an intergovernmental conference to produce a legally binding treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in the high seas outside national maritime boundaries. It’s a crucial first step, and is encouraging because it suggests that political will is building to draft international rules that protect the ocean wilderness.

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