The High Seas are international waters, meaning they are open-access common areas for everyone. Although various international and regional agreements have been established for High Seas use, many activities are not restricted. There are few regulations for commercial fishing, oil and gas exploration, mining, shipping, bioprospecting, and pollution on the High Seas - and even where regulations do exist, there are few nations that will enforce them.
As a result, many High Seas areas have already become degraded. New management regimes are required to protect High Seas species and habitats while allowing for sustainable resource use.