On Sunday, UN members states from across the world came to an historic agreement to protect high seas.
So this may have you asking, what are high seas and why do they matter?
High seas are areas of the ocean outside of any national boundaries. These areas represent almost two thirds of the oceans and until Sunday, there was no legally binding agreement to protect them.
They are the unseen jewels of the ocean, but, away from public scrutiny, they have been open to repeated use and abuse. Because of this, they have been exploited by fishing, shipping and deep sea mining to name just a few.
The agreement on Sunday was the first move to directly protect these areas.
The new agreement means that 30% of high seas will be designated as marine protected areas. That means that an extra 18% of the whole of the ocean will now be legally protected. A huge step forward and a record achievement for the ocean.
This protection will be critical to enforcing to the recently agreed 30X30 pledge made at the UN’s biodiversity conference in December. Where nations agreed to protect 30% of sea and land by 2030. Without the agreement made on Sunday, this target would have been impossible to achieve.
Marine protected areas will allow marine ecosystems to thrive world over, protected from human exploitation.
This agreement in a monumental step forward in protections for the ocean, lets take this moment to celebrate!