Statement on the UN High Seas Treaty | News | Seafish

Statement on the UN High Seas Treaty

The UN High Seas Treaty agreed in March 2023 offers more marine protection in international waters. Read our statement on what this means for the UK.

After more than a decade of negotiations, the countries of the United Nations have agreed the first ever treaty to protect the world's oceans that lie outside national boundaries. The UN High Seas Treaty places the world's oceans into protected areas which will determine the types and levels of activity that can take place – including fishing.

Seafish Statement

Aoife Martin, Director of Operations at Seafish, explains what this means for the UK seafood industry:

Commercial fishing is subject to intense regulatory control. Fish from UK or EU waters comes from fish populations and fishing fleets that are highly regulated and, by and large, well-managed. However, the UK market also relies heavily on imported seafood, so it’s important that fishing on the high seas is also well managed to ensure long-term sustainability of our seafood and healthy marine ecosystems, wherever it comes from.
We know that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing occurs on the high seas – those areas not within any one nation’s control or supervision. We’re pleased to see progress being made on management of these international waters with the UN High Seas Treaty receiving agreement on an acknowledged area of concern. Delivering appropriate levels of marine protection is an important part of tackling the biodiversity crises and the climate change emergency. This High Seas Treaty will mean that, for the first time, the same levels of marine protection that exist inside UK waters will now also apply on the high seas.

Further information on work underway to support sustainable fisheries management in the UK is available on the Seafish website, visit the link below.

More information on the details of the High Seas Treaty is available from the UN website, visit the link below.