Greenpeace, the Pew Trusts, the WWF and other environmental entities are celebrating the decision of the UN High Seas Alliance to introduce, by 2030, the first definitive regulation of nearly 65% of the world’s marine ecosystems which lie outside of coastal waters.
It has taken 20 years to produce this limited initiative with principle resistance having come from sea potentates such as China, Russia, the US and Japan whose fleets of factory ships have indiscriminately wreaked havoc by “vacuum cleaning” stocks of fish, fragile coral reefs, krill, sponges and seaweeds.
The ambitious target is to declare 30% of the oceans as protected conservation areas with harvesting either restricted to quotas or, in most areas, banned completely.
The remaining 70% will remain as open water, but extraction of marine genetic resources will be supervised to ensure that they are shared fairly by both developed and developing nations.
All sounds fine until one realises that this international agreement has many badly defined areas such as who will fund and organise the supervisory body and to which tribunals will transgressions be referred for sentencing.
Well, at least it is a start towards the eventual target of clean seas to be enjoyed by a reduced and less demanding world population of vegans!
By Robert Cavaleiro