Agreed on March 5th, 2023, and expected to be covering almost two-thirds of the ocean that lies outside national boundaries, the new UN ‘High Seas Treaty’ is set to provide a legal framework for establishing networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), designed to contribute to the conservation of marine biodiversity.
The ‘High Seas Treaty’ is most timely in providing a governance framework for MPAs to implement one of the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) recently adopted Global Biodiversity Framework, to protect and conserve at least 30% of the ocean, and to ensure 30% of degraded areas are under restoration, by 2030. The Treaty makes it clear that MPA management arrangements ‘may allow, where appropriate, sustainable use provided it is consistent with the conservation objectives [of the MPA]’. This is likely to result in the general exclusion of minerals activity, potentially significant constraints on fisheries activity and some moderate restrictions for shipping.
The OCEAN project, funded by the EU and the UK Research and Innovation Grant, focuses on navigational safety and the enhancement of “on the spot” navigational awareness relating to hazards around the ship or craft. Targeted at providing tools for onboard use of commercial and non-commercial ships alike, one aspect of the OCEAN project is to provide near-real-time warnings to the navigators when in areas of an expected high level of marine mammal presence and activity, with the dual objective of protecting the marine wildlife as well as increasing the safety of smaller and lightly built ships. In this context, the OCEAN project will deliver and demonstrate several human-centred innovations, including the 4D Situation Awareness Display, which is developed from the ground up to improve the visualisation of navigational hazards, integrating current bridge information systems with marine mammal tracking capacity specifically developed by the project.
The OCEAN project, funded by the EU and the UK Research and Innovation Grant, focuses on navigational safety and the enhancement of “on the spot” navigational awareness relating to hazards around the ship or craft.