A campaign advocating for the establishment of High Seas Marine Protected Areas under the new United Nations BBNJ Treaty

Final Round of United Nations Negotiations









Nearly fifty percent of the earth’s surface consists of the High Seas. This vast kaleidoscope of striking, yet mysterious, ecosystems belong to no one state or corporation, but to all humankind. Beyond each states’ 200 nautical miles of exclusive waters, the High Seas stretch into the horizon — a network of ecosystems and migratory routes that connect humans and animal species from around the globe. Through currents, nutrient rich upwellings, temperature regulation, oxygen production, and carbon sequestration, the High Seas support and protect life on earth. 



of oxygen is produced by the ocean


of our planet is covered by the High Seas


of carbon produced is stored in the ocean

By virtue of belonging to everyone and no one, the High Seas suffer from unregulated industry, pollution, and an inconsistent and fragmented system of governance. We as stewards of the environment are failing to protect fish stocks, clean up garbage and industry based disasters, and protect the diverse wonders found in the High Seas before climate change irrevocably alters the ocean and it is too late.


There is an opportunity on the horizon to transform how we conserve biodiversity and manage human activities impacting the High Seas. The United Nations is undergoing negotiations for a treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). This treaty represents a concerted effort by States, international institutions, civil society actors, and Indigneous communities to develop an international framework to manage and protect the High Seas and their myriad of wonders. 

As the final round of negotiations approaches, it is crucial to build an ambitious treaty that protects the High Seas for future generations. In partnership with the High Seas Alliance, this campaign merges art, policy work, and science to advocate for a robust treaty that establishes a human—nature relationship based on reciprocity and equity. 

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One aspect of effective governance and conservation is the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The High Seas are home to a plethora of ecosystems and species, connected by currents and epic migrations. One of the campaign objectives is for the BBNJ treaty to establish a connected network of MPAs protecting and celebrating the extraordinary regions spread throughout the world’s oceans. This campaign identified 8 priority areas for protection, each of which have an ambassador species to help champion regional conservation. 

The priority MPAs and their ambassador species:

Leatherback Sea Turtle

Costa Rica Thermal Dome

Lined Seahorse

Sargasso Sea

Juan Fernández Fur Seal

Salas y Gómez & Nazca Ridges

Laysan Albatross

Emperor Seamounts