‘Greatest Conservation Victory Ever’ signed as historic ocean deal

minke whale

The rare sighting of a minke whale in the Antarctic Peninsula (Image: Shutterstock)

A historic agreement to protect the world’s oceans was signed at the United Nations after ten years of talks between 200 countries – and hailed by Greenpeace as the “greatest protection victory of all time”.

The High Seas Treaty gives protected status to 30 percent of international waters by 2030, compared to 1.2 percent today.

It will help marine life by controlling harmful deep-sea mining and exploration, as well as fishing and shipping.

The deal, which followed two previously deadlocked offers, was signed after a 38-hour marathon session in New York. Laura Meller, Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner, said: “This is a historic day for conservation and a sign that in a divided world, conservation of nature and people can triumph over geopolitics.” Her group called the deal “huge” and a historic win.

Marine biologist Rebecca Helm said: “Protecting this half of the Earth’s surface is absolutely critical to the health of our planet.” Marine expert Nichola Clark said: “This is a unique opportunity to protect the oceans – a huge win for biodiversity.”

a turtle

A green sea turtle swims near Honolua Bay on the island of Maui, Hawaii (Image: Shutterstock)

The high seas are beyond the control of national governments and are virtually lawless, even though they cover half the world.

The contract is not yet legally binding and requires the approval of each individual country. And a promise by richer nations to provide more resources is not supported by numbers.

However, subsequent summits are expected to go into detail and set a framework for future agreements. It includes commitments to resource sharing and environmental assessments prior to commercial activities such as mining. A new body will also be created to manage the conservation of marine life.

school of dolphins

An aerial view of a group of dolphins near Jervis Bay in Australia (Image: Shutterstock)

Many marine species — including sea turtles, dolphins, whales, and many fish — undertake long annual migrations, crossing national borders and the high seas, but are increasingly threatened by overfishing, commercial exploitation, and pollution from chemicals and plastics.

Efforts to protect them – and people who depend on fishing or tourism – have been hampered by a bewildering patchwork of laws. It is estimated that almost ten percent of marine life is now threatened with extinction.

A Hollywood star’s role in making the world take action

Jane Fonda

Actress Jane Fonda speaks to reporters at the UN during the campaign (Image: Anadolu)

Hollywood star and veteran activist Jane Fonda, 85, played a key role in the ocean deal.

She pressured delegates after personally delivering a petition signed by 5.5 million people from 157 countries.

And in an impassioned speech to the United Nations in New York, she urged nations to come together to “save this great ally we have called the ocean that can save us.”

The Barbarella and Nine To Five star told reporters: “Even dogs don’t poop in their kennels because they know the kennel gives them security and a home. We poop in our kennel. We’re supposed to be smart.

“We destroy things we don’t even understand. We’re not doing the right thing and the contract is important because it will force us to do the right thing.’

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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/06/biggest-conservation-victory-ever-as-historic-ocean-treaty-is-signed-18390192/ 'Greatest Conservation Victory Ever' signed as historic ocean deal

Justin Scacco

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