Former UK foreign secretary and brother of Labour party leader Ed Miliband, David Miliband is leading the charge on saving the world’s oceans. It’s encouraging to see the proactive, heartfelt stance being taken in a bid to raise awareness for the plight of the high seas – as over fishing, sea-floor mining and “rogue engineering” are threatening the planet and making, according to Miliband, the recent financial crisis look like child’s play. The new organization, which Miliband will lead in a non-profit capacity, is called the Global Ocean Commission, and will “try to fashion practical solutions that are an environmental win and an economic win, and with a commission which is avowedly across north-south, east-west, rich-poor divides.” This commission’s aim is to help preserve and regulate the high seas, long been an outlaw frontier due to human being’s inability to reach and navigate the deeper waters – but, the last twenty years have seen an unprecedented encroachment on marine life.
“The current enforcement on the high seas is inadequate at best and worthless at worst,” said Professor Callum Roberts, a marine biologist at the University of York, who in the Guardian newspaper recently said protection for the open oceans was desperately needed. Roberts dubbed the laws as “useless” and said that, when they were written in the 1970s, “people thought the resources of the oceans were limitless.” It is encouraging to see that Miliband and his peers are keen to update the draconian laws surrounding deep water territories; politicians need to be able to put an equal emphasis on the monetary advantages of conservation in order to make new regulations stick. Miliband seems a competent political player in this arena, and that is precisely what is needed when negotiating international treaties, particularly concerning the multi-billion dollar fishing industry. Let’s hope this commission can make the much-needed inroads in a very pressing and essential area of environmental responsibility.