The high seas cover more than half the earth’s surface, yet less than 1% of their area is protected. It is remarkable that these areas beyond the jurisdiction of states have such little governance arrangements.

The high seas are home to some of the most amazing diverse lifeforms on the planet. Scientists are only beginning to discover the scope of animals that are able to live in these most amazingly deep, dark and inhospitable places.

There has historically been a ‘freedom to fish’ culture on the high seas, and industrial fishing remains the major threat to marine animals and their habitats in these areas.

HSI has long campaigned for greater protection for the high seas at UN meetings. The UN has now formally agreed to start negotiating a new international agreement to protect the areas of ocean beyond national jurisdiction. Our work entails lobbying for strong conservation outcomes for the high seas in any prospective agreement, and increased marine protected areas (MPAs) to protect biodiversity and other natural values.