Grace Williams investigates how a new UN treaty on ocean conservation could help protect the planet
Photo by Jean Wimmerlin
Legislation to declare certain parts of our waters as ocean sanctuaries could protect fish populations from being over-exploited, which would disrupt the food chain and marine biodiversity. The function of our oceans is crucial in sustaining life on Earth now more than ever, as it acts as a ‘sink’ for excess heat and CO2 produced by modern malpractice and over-consumption of natural resources.
‘High seas’ are defined as the parts of the open ocean far from coastlines and economic areas. These areas are being devastated by poor, exploitative practices. These practices include deep-sea mining to generate energy, and activities such as whale hunting. Whaling has been widely denounced, however whale-hunting countries Norway, Iceland, and Japan still upholds the practice with some quota.
The Proposed Legislation
A United Nations treaty to legally protect high seas internationally could be implemented in the near future, though this suggestion is being met with disagreement by many countries, including whale-hunting countries, as well as the U.S.A. As it stands, most protective legislation is within smaller regions or own countries, however, there is currently no overarching law to protect the oceanic body as a whole,