The environment secretary, has called for an increase in the amount of ocean that should be protected from fishing and other damaging activities in the next decade under a global treaty.

Britain will aim to replace the global target of ten per cent of the ocean protected by 2020 that was set in 2010. and will now back calls by scientists for the target to be improved to 30 per cent.

Currently less than 10 per cent of the world’s seas are protected from extractive activities under the target set by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Mr Gove the environment secretary said: “Protection of our oceans is a global challenge which requires global action. The UK has already safeguarded vast swathes of precious marine habitats, but we must go further.

“Only by working together can we protect our shared home and ensure our marine life continues to be a source of awe and wonder for future generations.”

Charles Clover, executive director of the Blue Marine Foundation, said: “Michael Gove should be congratulated on committing to this hugely ambitious target which is typical of him and lives up to what one would expect both from Britain’s maritime history and the increased public expectations after the BBC’s Blue Planet II.

“What is promised here is that there should be a series of ‘management measures.’ Percentages are one thing, protection is another. I predict that this announcement will focus attention even more closely on what the government means by ‘protection.’”