May 18, 2024

Historic agreement: restrict deep-sea fishing and mining – this is how the world wants to save the seas

Historic agreement

This is how the world wants to save our oceans

For more than a decade, the nations of the world have been struggling to reach an agreement to protect the world’s oceans. Now the states have made a breakthrough.


On the night of March 5, 2023, the member states of the United Nations agreed on an agreement to protect the world’s oceans.

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  • After years of negotiations, the nations of the United Nations have agreed to an agreement to protect the world’s oceans in New York.

  • The current situation was incomplete, as the oceans were considered a legal void.

  • “Historic”: Environmental organizations celebrate the agreement.

After 15 years of tough negotiations and a marathon 38-hour meeting on Saturday night, United Nations member states reached a landmark agreement to protect the world’s oceans: By 2030, at least 30% of the world’s oceans must be protected. They are designated as protected areas.

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What is the current state of the oceans?

Protection of the high seas has so far been incomplete. Two-thirds of the oceans belong to the high seas and thus are largely illegal until now.

Pollution and over-exploitation, for example through overfishing or shipping, are putting more pressure on the oceans. “Plastic pollution and the climate crisis are increasingly affecting the ocean,” said the German Federal Ministry for the Environment.

What is the new agreement?

As part of protecting the high seas, economic projects, expeditions and other activities in the seas must be scrutinized for compatibility with the environment. The agreement also aims to place biodiversity on the high seas under binding international protection.

Why did it take so long to reach an agreement?

Robert Blasiak, a marine researcher at Stockholm University, told the BBC that the biggest challenge is that no one knows the value of marine resources and how they can be divided.

“Imagine a big, high-definition, widescreen TV and just three or four pixels on that huge screen—that’s what we know about the deep sea. We’ve identified about 230,000 species in the ocean, but it’s estimated that there are more than two million.”

Why was it so urgent to care about the oceans?

The most recent studies of marine species find that nearly 10 percent are threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

New protected areas in the agreement limit fishing, shipping routes and, most importantly, exploration tasks such as deep-sea mining, where minerals are extracted at depths of 200 meters or more. Environmental groups worry that mining could disrupt animal breeding grounds, cause noise pollution and be toxic to marine life.

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Are environmental organizations satisfied with the agreement?

Yes. For WWF marine conservation expert Caroline Schacht, it was a “celebration day.” I talked about the “New York moment” for the seas, based on the “Paris moment” in climate protection. The international community has finally overcome the great differences of opinion in favor of nature and the future of people on the planet.

“Today is a historic day,” said Greenpeace expert Til Seidensticker. “Going forward, the international community must roll up its sleeves and take concrete action to protect marine life from further destruction.”

OceanCare’s Fabian McClellan said the agreement reflects only minimal consensus on many points and is a far cry from many of the promises made in recent years. However, the possibility of global measures to protect the oceans is being strengthened.

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