A major obstacle to better management and governance of the high seas... is the fundamental lack of understanding of their biological and physical elements. To address this shortcoming, and evaluate the potential need for a high seas regeneration zone, the Commission hosted an interdisciplinary High Seas Symposium in Oxford in November 2015. More than 40 experts in ocean science, economics and policy came together to identify areas requiring further research and direction. Participants were asked to perform a ‘horizon-scanning’ exercise to envisage the scenarios: business as usual; a recuperating high seas benefiting from effective governance with a strong implementing agreement that allows for significant high seas MPAs; and a future where the high seas are closed to all extractive human activities. This exercise highlighted the desirability of addressing high seas decline now, as laid out in the Commission’s suite of proposals, so that the radical creation of high seas regeneration zones will not be necessary.