Recognising the magnitude of change required to reverse the decline in ocean health, the Bertarelli Foundation has partnered with governments around the world to protect and enforce marine reserves. Mindful that national governments, working alone, can only achieve so much, more recently we have worked an an international level to explore ways that waters beyond national jurisdiction can be protected.
These areas make up about two-thirds of the ocean and contain some of the largest reservoirs of biodiversity anywhere in the world. Whilst they have for many years supported massive commercial fishing activities, the impact has been keenly felt on a wide range of oceanic species such as whales, tuna, sharks and even deep-water, mesophotic corals.
The United Nations Preparatory Committee process, which follows from the Agreement on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, provides an opportunity to protect huge swathes of the ocean in a part of the world which is currently regarded as essentially lawless. Many experts believe that if international targets for ocean protection are to be met, the creation of international MPAs is an essential step which will help preserve biodiversity on the high seas for many generations.