Treaty to enable high seas marine protected areas takes step forward

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The United Nations has advanced a step closer to an international treaty to protect marine life on the high seas, with an aim of setting up a mechanism for creating marine protected areas in areas beyond national jurisdictions.

International waters outside countries’ exclusive economic zones make up 60 percent of the ocean and cover almost half of the surface of the earth.

o0806042 - 08 JUNE 2004 - TASMAN SEA The NZ deep sea trawler West Bay does a fast turn after hauling its catch from international waters in the Tasman Sea. Greenpeace along with more than a thousand scientists are supporting the call for a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling, because of the vast amount of marine life that is destroyed by this fishing method. ©2004Greenpeace/Roger Grace

The waters are rife with marine life, including many threatened species, but are subject to little governance.

The new treaty would update the 35-year-old United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea by adding provisions for

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