Inside Story

How should the high seas be protected?

United Nations members are meeting to agree on a deal to protect international waters.

Countries have tried for years to reach a global agreement on protecting the high seas.

These are areas of the world’s oceans that fall beyond the jurisdiction of any one nation. Two-thirds of oceans are considered international waters, but only 1.2 percent of these high seas are protected.

This means most of the world’s marine life is exposed to growing threats from climate change, overfishing and shipping. United Nations member states meeting in New York City aim to have a legally binding treaty to protect 30 percent of the world’s oceans by 2030.

But what has prevented an agreement until now?

Presenter: Laura Kyle


Jessica Battle – senior expert on global ocean policy, World Wildlife Fund

Daanish Mustafa – professor of critical geography, King’s College London

Will McCallum – head of oceans, Greenpeace UK