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5 Victories in the Race to Protect the Ocean

The ocean is in crisis. Overfishing, pollution, and climate change are all taking a toll on marine life and ecosystems. But there are also some victories in the race to protect the ocean.

5 reasons to be hopeful about the future of the ocean

The High Seas Treaty

This deal will protect areas of the ocean that lie outside national boundaries. It is the culmination of 19 years of negotiations between 100 countries. Overall, almost two-thirds of the world’s ocean is ‘high seas’, but less than 2% of the high seas are currently protected.

The deal to end harmful fisheries subsidies

This deal was signed by World Trade Organization members last year to protect the ocean. It clamps down on the subsidies that lead to overfishing and marine ecosystem damage.

The commitment to conserve at least 30% of the ocean by 2030

Today, less than 10% of the ocean is protected. But the world has committed to accelerating efforts. A landmark deal was agreed at the UN Biodiversity Conference in 2022 to conserve and safeguard at least 30% of the world’s ocean, land and inland waterways by 2030.

The agreement to develop a treaty to end plastic pollution

UN members are in talks to establish a legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution. It will address every stage of the plastic lifecycle, from production to disposal. Today, enough plastic to fill a garbage truck enters the ocean every minute.

Progress on ending illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing

IUU fishing damages precious fish stocks and marine ecosystems. Boats are now less able to land IUU catches at the world’s ports thanks to the FAO’s Port State Measures Agreement. Now signed by 100 countries and counting.

Have you read?

The World Economic Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action are calling for countries to resolve the unfinished business of global ocean stewardship. Governments must prioritize finalizing and ratifying these agreements and treaties as soon as possible. Until these deals are implemented, the ocean and the people who depend on it will continue to suffer.

World leaders have shown their commitment to ocean health and positive multilateralism. They are now urged to take the final, critical steps and turn words into action.

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Johnny Wood

February 26, 2024

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