Daily Mail

Finally after 15 years, a UN treaty to save the high seas

- By Colin Fernandez

UN member states have agreed a historic treaty to protect the high seas after 15 years of negotiatio­ns.

The high seas begin outside countries’ national waters, which extend up to 200 nautical miles (230 miles) from coastlines. They thus fall under the jurisdicti­on of no country.

Ocean ecosystems create half the oxygen humans breathe and limit global warming by absorbing much of the carbon dioxide. But they are threatened by climate change, pollution and overfishin­g.

When the treaty comes into force it will allow the creation of marine protected areas in these waters. It could mean restrictio­ns on fishing and on deep seabed mining.

The high seas comprise more than 60 per cent of the world’s oceans and nearly half the planet’s surface. Only about 1 per cent of the high seas are currently under protection.

The treaty is seen as essential to hitting the target of conserving 30 per cent of the world’s land and ocean by 2030.

Greenpeace said 4.2million square miles of ocean needs to be put under protection every year to 2030 to hit the target.

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