Canada must Sign High Seas Treaty

Conservation groups stand together to demand the Canadian government protects oceans by signing the United Nation's Treaty of the High Seas.

Following two decades of negotiations, The United Nations (UN) has adopted the Treaty of the High Seas, a monumental international treaty that will provide a framework for practices of sustainability and conservation in the high seas. Adopted by the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), the treaty is legally-binding with the purpose to govern and protect 60% of the Earth’s oceans beyond national boundaries from harmful practices including polluting activities, unsustainable fishing activities, warming temperatures, and acidifying waters. This first-of-its-kind treaty will support efforts to achieve meet the UN’s 2030 Agenda For Sustainable Development and was adopted with the purpose of ensuring productive, healthy oceans for generations to come.⁠

The Treaty opened for signatures on September 20, 2023. As of today, over 80 countries have signed, demonstrating their support for the treaty and willingness to proceed with ratification. In collaboration with more than 30 Canadian conservation groups, Pacific Wild is asking the Government of Canada to continue the leadership demonstrated during the negotiation process of the BBNJ Treaty, or the High Seas Treaty, by signing the treaty as soon as possible, commiting to ratifying the Treaty by 2025 and Leading the implementation of the Treaty.

Read the open letter below.

Subject: Canada should be a world leader in protecting the High Seas
To: Diane Lebouthillier PC MP <>,Mélanie Joly PC MP <>, Steven Guilbeault PC MP <>
Cc: Jeremy Bruce <>, Jessica Morrison <>, Michael Brewster <>, Nicole Zanesco <>, Simon L’Allier <>, Susanna Fuller <>

Dear Ministers Guilbeault, Joly, and Lebouthillier,

We are writing to you on behalf of Canada’s conservation community, about the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Treaty (BBNJ), commonly known as the High Seas Treaty.

Please find attached (in the files “bbnj_en” and “bbnj_fr”), a letter signed by thirty-four Canadian and international environmental non-governmental organisations.
We are concerned that despite repeatedly expressing its support for the treaty, the government of Canada has yet to sign the treaty.
As you know, the treaty was opened for signatures at the UN General Assembly in September. Many other governments signed during that time, demonstrating through their deeds that they recognise the importance of multilateral cooperation to create a strong legal framework for good governance over the high seas, and to protect the ocean biodiversity that lies at the foundation of all life. Our thirty-four organisations have joined hands to urge you to make every effort to ensure that the government of Canada signs the treaty as soon as possible, and advances to ratification no later than June 2025. We look forward to hearing from you, and we offer you our help with this next phase of global environmental protection.

Yours sincerely,

Susanna Fuller, Oceans North, Akaash Maharaj, Nature Canada

Akaash Maharaj
Policy Director, Nature Canada

download THe open letter pdf