About the High Seas Alliance

Since its founding in 2011, the High Seas Alliance with its 50+ non-governmental members and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, has been working towards protecting the 50% of the planet that is the High Seas; the global ocean beyond national jurisdiction. This area includes some of the most biologically important, least protected, and most critically threatened ecosystems in the world.

High Seas Alliance members work together to inspire, inform and engage the public, decision-makers and experts to support and strengthen High Seas governance and conservation, as well as cooperating towards the establishment of High Seas marine protected areas.

The High Seas Alliance played a leading role in the years of negotiations to reach the High Seas Treaty* Agreement on 4 March 2023. Our current priority is to ensure that the Treaty enters into force as soon as possible. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shift the status quo of High Seas governance and help protect marine life from the increasing impacts of overfishing, climate change, shipping and new activities, such as deep-seabed mining.

Until now, for most of the High Seas, there have been no legally binding mechanisms for establishing marine protected areas or a global coordination mechanism to assess the environmental impacts of activities in areas of the ocean beyond national jurisdiction. Having formally adopted the High Seas Treaty on 19 June, individual countries must now ratify the Treaty through their own domestic legal processes. The sixtieth country to ratify will trigger a hundred-and-twenty-day countdown, when the global Agreement will enter into force and become international law.


*The High Seas Alliance (HSA) sometimes uses the term “High Seas Treaty“ as a short-hand for the BBNJ Agreement. HSA acknowledges that the scope of the BBNJ Agreement encompasses all Areas beyond national jurisdiction, including the seafloor and water column. This choice of wording is intended to ease understanding for broad audiences and does not convey a prioritization among the components or principles of the BBNJ Agreement.

Our Mission

Our mission is to conserve the world’s high seas — which cover half of our planet.

Goals:

  • To build a strong common voice and constituency for high seas conservation.
  • To promote and catalyse the protection, conservation and restoration of marine ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • To promote and catalyse the building of a comprehensive, representative and effective system of marine protected areas (MPAs), including no-take reserves.
  • To catalyse and monitor the effective implementation of existing and emerging ocean conservation obligations and rules.
  • To promote and monitor effective governance, management and enforcement systems that support and ensure conservation, sustainability of use and equitable benefit sharing for all high seas marine resources and species, including fisheries.

HSA members are committed to working together to inspire, inform and engage the public, decision makers and experts in support of high seas conservation, and to working through relevant intergovernmental processes and organizations to ensure that meaningful action is taken to achieve these common goals.

For more information about these goals, read the High Seas Alliance Charter.