Updated: Sep 22
The High Seas, also known as the open ocean, is the vast expanse of water beyond the jurisdiction of any one country. One of the biggest and most significant ecosystems on the globe, it occupies more than two thirds of the planet's surface. The High Seas support life on land by being home to a wide variety of marine life, ranging in size from the smallest plankton to the largest whales.
The High Seas have long been disregarded and devalued despite their significance. They were mostly unregulated up until recently, which left them open to overfishing, pollution, and other types of environmental damage. Yet things are starting to shift. The importance of the high seas and the urgent necessity to conserve them for the sake of the world and all of its inhabitants have recently come to more people's attention.
Why then are the High Seas so crucial? There are a number of causes. For instance, they provide millions of people worldwide with a crucial source of protein. They also play a significant role in influencing the climate and weather patterns worldwide. They significantly reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide absorption, which lessens the effects of climate change. Moreover, they assist in controlling the oceans' temperature and circulation, which in turn influences the climate and weather patterns on land.
But perhaps most importantly, the High Seas are a vital ecosystem in their own right. They support a wide range of ecosystem services and are home to an immensely diverse spectrum of marine species, from microscopic plankton to gigantic whales. In addition to producing oxygen and providing habitat for numerous fish, animals, and other marine species, they also aid in regulating the global carbon cycle. They also facilitate a variety of human endeavours, including fishing, shipping, leisure, and tourism.
Despite their significance, the High Seas have been largely unregulated and unprotected until very recently. After 10 years of discussions, the United Nations finally came to a historic agreement to safeguard the high seas on 4th March 2023. The High Seas Treaty seeks to create a framework for the preservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas outside of national authority. This is a significant breakthrough in the campaign to safeguard the health and long-term viability of the High Seas.
The High Seas Treaty is a significant turning point in the fight to safeguard our oceans and the life they support. For the sake of the world and all of its inhabitants, it represents a rising understanding of the value of the High Seas and the urgent need to safeguard them. The treaty is only the beginning, though. It will be our collective responsibility to ensure it is fully carried out and that the High Seas are preserved for future generations.
In summary, the High Seas are a vital ecosystem that provide a wide range of ecosystem services and support life on land as well. They have a significant role in influencing the worldwide climate and weather patterns and are home to a wide variety of marine species. An important step has been taken in the endeavour to safeguard the High Seas and maintain their long-term health and sustainability with the recent High Seas Treaty accord. However, it will take ongoing effort and commitment from all of us to ensure that the High Seas are protected and preserved for future generations.