West Coast welcomes Canada’s signing of High Seas Treaty

xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories/VANCOUVER

Today, lawyers at West Coast Environmental Law are celebrating Canada’s signing of the High Seas Treaty on the one-year anniversary of the agreement.

Staff lawyer Stephanie Hewson issued the following statement:

This is an important step towards a healthier, more resilient ocean. The high seas cover almost half the planet, but it is the least protected area in the ocean. This is because the high seas are international waters, beyond any single country’s jurisdiction, resulting in a gap in governance.

The High Seas Treaty addresses this gap by creating the first legal framework to protect and manage biodiversity in the high seas. It enables the creation of high seas marine protected areas and allows for environmental impact assessments of potentially harmful activities.

West Coast Environmental Law is proud to be part of the High Seas Alliance, which pushed for strong measures in the Treaty.

For the High Seas Treaty to come into force, at least 60 nations must sign and ratify it. Canada’s announcement today means that 88 countries have signed the Treaty, with two having ratified it.

Canada’s signing today sends a strong message that Canada is committed to marine conservation and intends to continue being an international leader on protecting the ocean. We call on Canada to build on this momentum for the ocean and swiftly ratify the Treaty.

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For more information, please contact:

Stephanie Hewson | Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law
(604) 684-7378 ext. 231, shewson@wcel.org