What Do You Know About the High Seas?

From Sept. 4 to 17, governments will gather at U.N. headquarters in New York to begin negotiations on the first treaty to protect the high seas. These ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction belong to everyone, but there is no comprehensive conservation mechanism in place for them. The new agreement would create just that.

Do you know why the high seas are worth protecting? Take our quiz and test your knowledge.   


  1. World Ocean Review, “The Oceans—the Largest CO2-Resevoir,” accessed Aug. 3, 2018, https://worldoceanreview.com/en/wor-1/ocean-chemistry/co2-reservoir.
  2. Enric Sala et al., “The Economics of Fishing the High Seas,” Science Advances 4, no. 6 (2018), http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aat2504.
  3. Sarah E. Lester et al., “Biological Effects Within No-Take Marine Reserves: A Global Synthesis,” Marine Ecology Progress Series 384 (2009): 33-46, http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps08029; Enric Sala and Sylvaine Giakoumi, “No-Take Marine Reserves Are the Most Effective Protected Areas in the Ocean,” ICES Journal of Marine Science 75, no. 3 (2018): 1166-68, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsx059.
  4. Garry R. Russ and Angel C. Alcala, “Marine Reserves: Long-Term Protection Is Required for Full Recovery of Predatory Fish Populations,” Oecologia 138, no. 4 (2004): 622-27, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-003-1456-4; Gregory L. Britten et al., “Predator Decline Leads to Decreased Stability in a Coastal Fish Community,” Ecology Letters 17, no. 12 (2014): 1518-25, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.12354; Jordi Bascompte, Carlos J. Melian, and Enric Sala, “Interaction Strength Combinations and the Overfishing of a Marine Food Web,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102, no. 15 (2005): 5443-47, http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0501562102.
  5. Sala and Giakoumi, “No-Take Marine Reserves”; Callum M. Roberts et al., “Marine Reserves Can Mitigate and Promote Adaptation to Climate Change,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences114, no. 24 (2017): 6167-75, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1701262114.
  6. Rene A. Abesamis and Garry R. Russ, “Density-Dependent Spillover From a Marine Reserve: Long-Term Evidence,” Ecological Applications 15, no. 5 (2005): 1798-1812, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1890/05-0174/abstract; Hugo B. Harrison et al., “Larval Export From Marine Reserves and the Recruitment Benefit for Fish and Fisheries,” Current Biology 22, no. 11 (2012): R444–46, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2012.04.008.
  7. U. Rashid Sumaila et al., “Winners and Losers in a World Where the High Seas Is Closed to Fishing,” Scientific Reports 5 (2015): 8481, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep08481.
  8. Crow White and Christopher Costello, “Close the High Seas to Fishing?” PLOS Biology 12, no. 3 (2014): e1001826, http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001826.

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