Monday, February 20, 2023

Protect the High Seas

The resources of the ocean sustain almost 3 billion people worldwide. The entire sea industry has a worth of $3 trillion (€2.8 trillion) — that's 5% of the world's gross domestic product.

 Fishing, shipping, tourism and ocean protection are currently controlled by around 20 organizations. However, their regulations only apply to a distance of 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers) from the coast. Farther out, international waters start and individual states don't have any power or say. 

Although the high seas make up more than half of the surface of the Earth and 61% of all oceans, only 1% of international waters are under protection. Illegal fishing, overfishing and other forms of damage to the ecosystem, such as deep-sea mining, oil and gas drilling, can hardly be monitored, tracked or prosecuted in a consistent way.

 51 countries want to now negotiate the High Seas Treaty at the United Nations in New York. The treaty has been in the works for years and is supposed to protect species and allocate the oceans' resources in a sustainable way. If nothing changes, half of all sea dwellers will be critically endangered by the end of this century, according to estimates by UNESCO.

10 million tons of fish are discarded because of bad fishing practices and processing. 

80% of global sewage and wastewater currently flow into oceans, unfiltered. In the poorest countries of the world, it's even up to 95%. This pollution contaminates and destroys oceans and coastal regions.

How to save our high seas from overfishing, pollution – DW – 02/20/2023

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