Miracle – An ocean treaty to save our seas
“Thirty by thirty” (or 30 x 30) is the rallying cry for the rescue of our oceans, to save 30% of them by 2030 and give them time to recover, also to save a massive 10% of marine species in danger of extinction.
Amazingly over 60 nations have signed up to the recent United Nations Global Ocean Treaty including the UK. Perhaps even more amazingly, the EU, US, UK and China worked hard for this to happen as well as the G77.
I’d not heard of the G77 before. It was set up in 1964 and now consists of 134 countries containing 80% of the world’s populations. They are working for fairness in light of the mega rich and powerful nations. The Small Island States, sadly in danger of losing their homes, lands and heritage to the rising sea levels, worked hard too for fairness in the treaty. (Our own country will be affected with an estimated 200,000 homes lost to the sea by 2050. LINK)
So what has the United Nations Global Ocean Treaty achieved after countries have made it their own law? The International Seabed Authority will provide licences and ensure that fishing will take place sustainably in the sanctuaries that will be agreed by the nations. They will determine the routes of shipping lanes to minimise harm, and they will also limit deep sea exploration mining that takes minerals from the seabed 200m or more below the surface. Deep sea mining is very controversial because of the possible severe harm such mining might cause to largely unknown marine life and eco systems.
One huge problem remains– plastics in the oceans. The authors of the treaty believe that it is necessary to stop the use of plastic for this problem to go, not the impossible clean-up of the ever increasing amounts of it. Perhaps it needs both to happen. But thankfully it is something we can all take action about – stop using goods wrapped in plastic. A drop in the ocean but drops all add up!
Julie Fagan, volunteer, Sustainable Harborough Community and Eco Church