This case study of transboundary marine conservation concerns an extensive unique deep-sea feature, centrally situated in the North Atlantic Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Located on an important biogeographic boundary the ‘Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone’ (CGFZ) was selected as a research priority for MAR-ECO research cruises in the late twentieth century, which found evidence to warrant protection of marine life present there. A CGFZ pilot high seas MPA case championed by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) in 2000 was subsequently promoted within the OSPAR Commission and designated as part of the suite of high seas MPAs adopted by OSPAR ministers in 2010 and 2012. This process, with its multiple in uences and actors, illustrates the ‘international rules’ pathway. A ‘collective arrangement’ has attempted to bring together different regional and global governance bodies using international norms. However, the success of such precautionary protective measures will depend on management measures. A conservation management plan is still not in place for CGFZ and in a wider context, of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s ecologically or biologically signi cant areas, the North-East Atlantic is currently ‘the region that got away’.