- Esme Stallard
- BBC News, Science and Climate Correspondent
After 10 years of negotiations, countries have reached a historic agreement to protect the world’s oceans.
The High Seas Agreement calls for 30% of oceans to become protected areas by 2030, which aims to protect and restore marine nature.
The agreement was reached on Saturday afternoon after 38 hours of negotiations at UN headquarters in New York.
Negotiations had been delayed for years by disagreements over funding and fishing rights.
The International Convention on Marine Protection was signed 40 years ago1982 In: United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Marine species living outside these protected areas are threatened by climate change, overfishing and maritime traffic.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in a recent assessment of the world’s marine species, Almost 10% were endangered.
These new protected areas will be established and kept in agreement Limits on fishing, navigational channels and exploration activitiesSuch as deep-sea mining, in which minerals are extracted from the seabed 200 meters or more deep.
Environmental groups worry that extraction processes could disrupt animal breeding grounds, create noise pollution and be toxic to marine life.
The International Maritime Commission, which oversees licensing, told the BBC, “Any future activities on the seabed will be subject to strict environmental regulations and oversight to ensure that it is carried out in a consistent and responsible manner”
That treaty established a zone known as the high seas — where all nations have the right to fish, navigate and investigate — but only 1.2% is protected.
UN Ambassador for Oceans Rena Lee brought down the hammer after two weeks of negotiations.
explained Minna Epps, Director of the IUCN Oceans Group A key issue is the sharing of marine genetic resources.
Marine genetic resources are the biological material of marine plants and animals that provide benefits to society such as medicines, industrial processes and food.
Wealthy countries now have the resources and funding to explore the deep sea, but the poor want to ensure that the benefits of their discoveries are fairly shared.
Robert Blasiak, an oceanographer at Stockholm University, said the challenge was No one knows how valuable marine resources are, so how they can be divided.
“If we imagine a widescreen high-definition TV that only works with three or four pixels, that’s our knowledge of the ocean depths. We’ve recorded about 230,000 species in the ocean, but it’s estimated that there are more than two million.” He further said..
Countries will have to meet again to ratify the agreement, and then they will have a lot of work to do before the agreement can be implemented.
Liz Curran, director of the Pews Foundation’s marine management committee, told the BBC: “It will take some time to take effect. States must ratify it [adoptarlo legalmente]. And then you have to create more organizational structures like the Science and Technology Committee.”
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