EIUI Team Member Cited in Nature Article about the High Seas

In an article in the 9th May 2018 issue of Nature, Olive Heffernan explores issues about the protection of unregulated high seas ecosystems in advance of the United Nations treaty negotiation meetings in New York in September. With the possibility of a United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) add-on treaty laying out new policies to conserve previously unprotected deep-sea areas, Heffernan consulted researchers to produce a “how to” guide to cordon off the oceans and to outline the scientific debates on the subject. EIUI team member Elizabeth De Santo is cited for her knowledge on marine protected areas (MPAs) and their tendency to be located in areas of low commercial interest. Ideally, with efforts from the scientific community, the upcoming treaty negotiations will see an increase in the designation of vulnerable deep-sea areas as “no-take” and off limit areas to potentially damaging commercial activity. Paul Snelgrove, a deep-sea biologist at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Associate Scientific Director of the Ocean Frontier Institute, is quoted as saying: “I think we have to accept that science will not be the only deciding factor, but we certainly hope it will be one of the major considerations.”

Vast expanses of the South Pacific, viewed here, are unprotected by law. Credit: James D. Morgan/Getty (Nature, 9 May 2018)

Heffernan, O. (2018, May 9). How to save the high seas. Nature, 557(7704), 154–156. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-05079-z

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