A significant agreement on conserving ocean biodiversity in global waters has been reached by approximately 200 nations

Following ten years of negotiations, over 190 countries have reached a consensus to safeguard oceanic biodiversity from perils such as excessive fishing, climate change, and deep-sea mining.

The United Nations headquarters in New York City hosted 38 consecutive hours of discussions before the High Seas Treaty was eventually finalized last weekend, according to reports by BBC News and other media outlets.

Under the accord, a structure will be established to create new protected zones in seas beyond the territorial control of any single nation. By 2030, these areas will span 30% of the world’s oceans.

Reportedly, contentious issues included funding, fishing entitlements, and the division of genetic resources, which caused the negotiations, initially set to conclude on Friday, to proceed into Saturday.

Despite the treaty requiring ratification by the United Nations and subsequent adoption by member nations, it was celebrated by environmentalists as a significant triumph.

“We have never been able to protect and manage marine life in the ocean beyond countries’ jurisdictions,” Rebecca Hubbard, director of the High Seas Alliance of nongovernmental organizations, told The Washington Post. “This is absolutely world-changing.”

“For the first time, we are getting a binding agreement for the high seas, which until now have hardly been protected,” said Steffi Lemke, Germany’s environment minister. “Comprehensive protection of endangered species and habitats is now finally possible on more than 40% of the Earth’s surface.”

U.N. spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric called the treaty “a victory for multilateralism and for global efforts to counter the destructive trends facing ocean health, now and for generations to come.”

The move is “crucial for addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution,” he added.