Matthias HEILWECKPage updated April 10th, 2016

COMMONSEAGOOD, my vision about the High Seas.

My opinion is that, in a very close future, food for us will become the world’s first challenge. Not gold nor diamonds, not oil nor gas, not rare earth elements nor private data, just food for all of us. We do not absolutely need jewels, gluttonous cars or the latest smartphones to live well . On the other side, food shortages happen to move populations and create deadly conflicts. Driven by hunger, each of us is able to steal and to fight. As it is a vital need, food supplants everything else. Because of the expected resource depletion, food supplies will become the 21th century's first means of power. United Nations Organization (UNO) should be able to count on a supranational food production, as my project can provide. Food sufficiency for all is the first guarantee of peace.

Please consider that my opinion engages only myself, and those who think the same,  Smiley CSG .

The big amounts of animal proteins, likely to be produced with my project, and intended for noble fish aquaculture, can be redirected easily and quickly to communities in need. Mussels are foremost excellent food for humans. To initiate this, I wish to pay my taxes in kind, as a part of my production, left at disposal of the World Food Program (WFP). To ensure that no national power can interfere, this production needs to be directly liable to UNO in the frame of High Seas’ Common Heritage of Humanity.

This concept was first defined in 1982 at Montego Bay by the Convention on the Law Of the Sea (UNCLOS), giving birth to Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), inside 200 sea miles off the coasts, which resources belong to the contiguous country, and also to International Seabed Authority (ISA), who was charged to manage the mining resources outside EEZ for Humanity. The ISA gives mining licences to countries or companies and has to survey their activities in term of pollution, together with their benefits in term of sharing. Some mining licences are already given, but the resulting obligations remained unclear. It is true that the opportunity to exploit polymetallic nodules, hydrothermal vents or cobalt crusts is technically and economically not yet mature. Seabed mining will really start first inside the EEZ, on the continental shelf, among others to be sure of not having to share...

But ouside EEZ, new marine activities, such as deep sea bottom trawling or fish aggregating devices, are already widely exploited, and plunder the sea ... without any legal framework to protect marine biological biodiversity. This remaining free area (on a first-come, first-served basis) called The Area, or The Commons, covers half of our planet !
The High Seas Alliance, which, among other NGOs, includes the Paris Appeal for the High Seas since April 2013, mobilizes to initiate a competent authority, able to regulate The Commons in the interest of the public good. An UN ad-hoc and open-ended informal working group was first charged to find issues for the governance of marine Biological diversity Beyond areas of National Jurisdiction (BBNJ). A major step was given on January 2015 by an UN agreeing to begin negotiating a legally binding treaty to conserve marine biodiversity in the high seas. The first round of negotiations starts end of March 2016 for two weeks. That's very good news, but what will be the state of the oceans when a binding resolution will be adopted... at best in 10 years ? For my part, I think that economic forces can act faster.

Beyond EEZ, everybody is free today to build an infrastructure, an artificial island, which status is ruled by the owner’s nation...or a flag of convenience. For myself, being already French and German, I lack only the other 191 UN members' nationalities, or at least their majority, to be internationally representative,  Smiley CSG . I wish to have an international global status, in order to confirm the belonging of this production to the Common Heritage of Humanity, and to be able to pay the appropriate taxes to all nations together, and not only to one. A supranational High Seas Authority is needed to make that possible.

Davis Bank, the perfect guyot I found for my project, is situated between two separate Brazilian EEZ, the main continental one, and the one around the islands of Trindade and Martim Vaz. In the year 2004, as it had the right to, Brazil submitted to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) an extension of its EEZ beyond 200 nautical miles. But this Brazilian submission, called Blue Amazon, attempts to join its two EEZ in order to include all the Vitoria-Trindade Seamount Chain, including Davis Bank. This has been requested despite the fact that the raising of these submarine volcanoes is obviously due to a magmatic hotspot, but has nothing to do with the continental shelf. This submission has been partially rejected by CCLS on April 2007, but Brazil submitted new studies on April 2015 to try to be proved right.
Davis Bank inside The Blue Amazon                                                                        (Source: Marinha do Brazil)

The consideration of this submission was programmed on the 38th session of CLSC from July to september 2015, but I have not been invited  Smiley CSG . Until now, the resulting recommendations have not yet been published. Now, if I had something to say, CLCS should be firm, and Brazil should accept limiting his initial requirement to its rightful continental shelf. To satisfy everyone, Brazil should be chosen by UNO to host the headquarters of the intended High Seas Authority. Unfortunately, I do not have the floor...

I am convinced that ecology should be placed above politics and business, but I'm pragmatic enough to realize that money rules the world, and nothing else. Our economic decision-makers could show a little more wisdom and a little less cupidity, but this is a wishful thinking  Smiley CSG . That’s why I believe that only a more sustainable and profitable business (healthy fish farming), which markets the same product (fish), will be able to slow down and finally stop today's overfishing.

The better we aquaculture, the less we fish, and let the oceans live!

I estimate my project to one billion dollars until it becomes a reality, but this is just an approach. Perhaps I will need much more, or perhaps little less  Smiley CSG . What is clear is that the need of very important financial facilities is an inescapable fact. Each simple operation on sea is tremendously expensive. I cannot start in my garage, and I am not at the head of a personal fortune. Furthermore, this production has to begin on a large scale to allow to offer a good price with the quality.

At this point, I want to clarify that funds from capital risk entities or hedge funds are not welcome, because the goal is not to make more money.
In order to finance my project, I do not believe either in crowdfunding which stays always limited at a few millions in the best case.

I think rather of the fish farming industry or interest groups like the Global Salmon Initiative, who have to make something soon, even if their business is still very good. They know they need an omega 3 rich feed to keep a sustainable and healthy production. It is up to them to choose to produce healthy natural food in the future or artificial one.

By nature, I believe in mankind and I think specially of those few, who have immense financial resources and who have decided to do something for the rest of the world, something for posterity. I think of all this mature billionaires. I guess that a billionaire is mature when he has nothing more to prove to anyone, not even his own humanism to himself. More than 100 of them, within the framework of the GivingPledge , introduced by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, already made a commitment to give half of their fortune to philanthropy during their lifetime. Why not to fund the revival of the high seas ?

A third perspective is the involvement of UNO itself, to create a supranational food suply, start settling the Commons and initiate a global economy for all of us.

Meanwhile, brain contributions are already welcome. Please wait for the financial ones  Smiley CSG , until I’ve found the best provisory status to receive them without national taxation losses. We keep in touch.

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