Following ten years of negotiations, Nations have reached a historic agreement to protect the world’s oceans. The High Treaty aims to place 30% of the seas into protected areas by 2030, to safeguard and recuperate marine nature.
After 38 hours of talks, an agreement was reached on Saturday evening at the UN headquarters in New York. The discussion had been held up over disagreements on funding and fishing rights.
The last international agreement on ocean protection was signed 40 years ago in 1982 – the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
That agreement established an area called the high seas, international waters where all countries have a right to fish, ship and do research, but only 1.2% of these waters are protected.
Marine life living outside these protected areas has been at risk from climate change, overfishing and shipping traffic.
The latest research by the International Union for Conservation of Nature has shown that nearly 10% of global marine species were found to be at risk of extinction.
These new protected areas, established in the treaty, will put limits on how much fishing can take place, the routes of shipping lanes and exploration activities like deep sea mining.
Environmental groups have been concerned that mining processes could disturb animal breeding grounds, create noise pollution and be toxic for marine life.
Countries will need to meet again to formally adopt the agreement and then have plenty of work to do before the treaty can be implemented.