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A Whale Shark swims in shallow water past a grouper and rays

London, 11 April 2019 – Today, Greenpeace launches one of its biggest ever expeditions – an almost year-long pole to pole voyage from the Arctic to the Antarctic – to highlight the many threats facing the oceans and to campaign for a Global Ocean Treaty covering all seas outside of national waters.

Visiting many of the areas identified as in need of protection by the groundbreaking academic study 30×30: A Blueprint for Ocean Protection, released last week, the Protect the Oceans expedition will see scientists and campaigners team up to research the threats of climate change, overfishing, plastic pollution, deep sea mining and oil drilling.

“Our blue planet is under threat and it’s up to all of us to protect it,” said Frida Bengtsson of Greenpeace’s Protect the Oceans campaign. “This voyage will take us to the front lines of the battle to defend our oceans, and we’re thrilled to be working with world-leading scientists to help their crucial work in understanding how our seas and marine life are changing and what we can do about it.”

“Negotiations towards a Global Ocean Treaty at the UN are already under way and it’s vital that governments get it right. We need a strong ocean treaty that has the teeth to create fully protected areas, free from harmful human activity. The science is clear that we need a network of these ocean sanctuaries covering at least a third of the world’s oceans by 2030 if we’re to defend precious wildlife, help to tackle climate change and provide food security for billions of people. Our fate and the fate of the oceans are intimately connected.”

The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is in London this week ahead of the expedition, which is being launched at an event on Thursday evening in London’s City Hall on the River Thames, with the UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove MP, Shadow Foreign

Secretary Emily Thornberry MP and marine biologist and co-author of the 30×30 report Professor Callum Roberts.


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Pole to Pole Expedition

See here for a map of the pole to pole expedition route.

Global Ocean Treaty:

Last week saw the second of four rounds of negotiation at the UN towards a treaty covering international waters. The third round of negotiations takes place at the UN HQ in New York in August 2019, with the treaty process hopefully concluding with a fourth and final round in Spring 2020.

A robust Global Ocean Treaty could provide the legal framework for the protection of international waters, making possible the creation of fully-protected Marine Protected Areas, or ‘ocean sanctuaries’, free from harmful human activities. Greenpeace is calling for a network of ocean sanctuaries covering at least a third of the world’s oceans by 2030, a target called for by scientists at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and welcomed by a growing number of governments.

For more information, see: Protect the Global Oceans: Why We Need a Global Ocean Treaty. For a detailed policy briefing see here.

Media Contact:

Dania Cherry

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