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Somewhere beyond the Sea

Sustainably wise

Mar 17, 2023

How the High Seas can use your help in the fight against overfishing.

For the first time ever after nearly 20 years of negotiations our governments are finally close to completing  a global treaty to protect the High Seas. But one question remains,  “will it be ambitious enough?”

The High Seas are the waters outside any country’s jurisdiction — they belong to no one and thus to all of us. They’re also massive making up two-thirds of the ocean and cover 50% of the planet, and yet, there is no framework in place to protect this area. Right now, they are left at the mercy of modern day pirates, and reckless overfishing.

Today a third of fish stocks are being fished beyond biologically sustainable levels and over 60% are fully fished.

It is hoped that countries will agree to establish a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) on the high seas, and to conduct environmental impact assessments in these ocean areas.  But countries have disagreed around issues of fair access to marine resources for all and how to establish and maintain the proposed marine protected areas.

The recently adopted 30×30 UN framework agreement on biodiversity commits countries to protect and conserve at least 30 percent of the ocean and ensure 30 percent of degraded areas are under restoration by 2030 with a High Seas Treaty creating the process for doing so. Now they need to put the needed means and mechanisms for doing this in place.

Currently, more than 20 organizations regulate different aspects of human activities on the high seas —such as shipping, fishing and seabed mining— with little coordination among them.  this fragmented approach needs to be addressed and fixed through the high seas treaty.

Oceans are an important source of food. They host 80 percent of the planet’s biodiversity, and are the largest ecosystem on Earth.  Fish provide 20 percent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. fishing and fish farming support the livelihoods and families of some 660 to 880 million people, that’s 12 percent of the world’s population. But by 2050 all of the large ocean fish could be gone.

only 1% of the high seas is protected. Illegal fishing, overfishing, new and emerging activities such as geoengineering, and climate change are among the many threats to high seas marine life.

The oceans have already absorbed a third of the carbon and 90 percent of the additional heat caused by global warming, And Marine animals are now facing a mass extinction due to climate change, according t Princeton University earth scientists. But with swift action to curb fossil fuel use and restore degraded ecosystems we could cut potential extinctions by 70 percent.

What can you do to help?

Only One, Greenpeace, the High Seas Alliance are delivering a High Seas petition to key decision makers at the start of the conference.

Governments are often too slow to act and their agreements are too limited but when millions of us mobilize together, leaders have to act. This is why SW has put together a listing of the most important campaigns and initiatives for solving our most urgent global problems We tell you when and why campaigns matter and how you can help. So we are supporting Only One’s campaign calling for an ambitious GHST. 

If our governments can agree on an ambitious  treaty it will be a key step towards moving the planet closer to the goal of protecting at least 30 percent of the ocean by 2030, the minimum level of protection scientists recommend for a healthy ocean.

Time is running out. the time toact is now. protect the ocean by supporting a High Seas Treaty:

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