The ocean covers more than 70 % of the planet and is a vital support system for all life – but both coastal areas and the high seas are under threat. Currently a lack of information, especially regarding the understudied Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), is hindering protection of these precious regions.
The new STRONG report ‘Ecological Baselines of the Southeast Atlantic and Southeast Pacific – Status of Marine Biodiversity and Anthropogenic Pressures in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction’ provides information on the current status of marine biodiversity in ABNJ in the Southeast Atlantic and Southeast Pacific, spanning seabed and water column habitats, geological and biological features, fish, marine mammals, turtles and seabirds. Moreover, the report highlights key pressures placed upon the high seas by human activities, taking stock of the impacts of seabed destruction, pollution, extraction of species, underwater energy and climate change.
The report intends to offer decision makers with an improved understanding of the functioning and importance of ecological features of ABNJ and their contribution to global human wellbeing, as well as highlight priorities for management and conservation measures. This report also underscores that there is only one ocean and that it needs to be conserved and managed as a whole, emphasising the connectivity between ABNJ and EEZs, and that holistic governance approaches are essential for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in ABNJ as well as EEZs.