Brittney Francis

28 May, 2019

The DSCC welcomes the call for a moratorium on deep-sea mining in international waters by the Long Distance Fleet Advisory Council (LDAC) of the European Union. In calling for a moratorium, the LDAC highlighted concerns by scientists, the fishing industry and environmental organizations over the potentially severe impacts on fisheries, fish and other species in the oceans and inevitable loss of marine biodiversity from deep-sea mining. The Executive Committee of the LDAC adopted the advice to the European Commission and EU Member States at its meeting in Poland last week and publicly released it today.

The International Seabed Authority, an intergovernmental organization established under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, is in the process of developing regulations that would permit mining the international areas of the deep ocean seabed.

Matthew Gianni, co-founder of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, said “Fishing industry representatives and NGOs in Europe are jointly raising concern with EU member states and the international community over the prospect of deep-sea mining and its likely impacts on fisheries and the marine environment. Scientists have warned that biodiversity loss will be inevitable and likely permanent on human timescales if the International Seabed Authority begins issuing licenses to mine the deep ocean seabed for metals such as copper, nickel, cobalt and manganese.”

The LDAC recommended that no deep seabed mining in the international areas of the ocean seabed under the jurisdiction of the International Seabed Authority should be permitted until:

  • the risks to the marine environment are fully assessed and understood,
  • a clear case can be made deep-sea mining is necessary and not simply profitable for companies or countries that want to mine,
  • international commitments to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, strengthen the resilience of marine ecosystems, and initiatives to transition to circular economies, sustainable methods of consumption and production and related efforts as called for the in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030 Agenda are recognized.

The LDAC further called on the European Commission and Member States to stop funding, facilitating or promoting the development of deep-sea mining and deep-sea mining technology.

Ann Dom, Deputy Director of Seas At Risk, said “We count on the EU member states to take to heart the call for a moratorium by the European Parliament and the fisheries sector, and to put it firmly on the agenda of the upcoming annual session of the International Seabed Authority”.

The LDAC endorsed a European Parliament resolution adopted in 2018 which also called for a moratorium on deep-sea mining and reform of the International Seabed Authority (ISA). In January of this year, echoing similar concerns, the UK House of Commons Environment Audit Committee released a report stating that deep-sea mining would have “catastrophic impacts on the seafloor” and that the ISA stands to benefit from revenues from issuing mining licenses which the Committee viewed as “a clear conflict of interest”.

John Tanzer, Leader, Oceans Practice, WWF International, said: “A moratorium on seabed mining – given its inherent risks and how little is known about life on the sea floor – is just plain common sense, and particularly in light of recent global biodiversity assessments showing the planet is suffering unprecedented species loss that will have profound impacts on nature and humanity at large”.

The Long Distance Fleet Advisory Council (LDAC) is an EU fisheries body representing stakeholders of both the fishing sector (including catching, processing and marketing sectors, and trade unions), and other groups of interest (environmental NGOs, consumers and civil society). Several DSCC member organizations, including Seas At Risk, WWF, Oceana, Bloom Association, are members of the LDAC.

Read the full press release

Cover image ©NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2015 Hohonu Moana

28 January, 2019

The Annual Meeting of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) today adopted a measure (regulation) for managing deep-sea fisheries on the high seas of the South Pacific. The regulation will allow New Zealand vessels to continue deep-sea bottom trawling on biodiversity hotspots on seamounts and deep mountain ridge systems on the high seas, putting large percentages of deepwater corals, related ecosystems, and rare species at risk in the Southwest Pacific and Tasman Sea.

At the same time, the meeting reviewed the activities of a New Zealand vessel, the Amaltal Apollo, caught repeatedly bottom trawling last year in an area closed by SPRFMO to protect deepwater corals. Pending the outcome of prosecution against the captain and company, scheduled to begin in February in Nelson, the SPRFMO meeting decided to keep the vessel on a draft list of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing vessels. New Zealand trawl vessels have dragged up many tonnes of corals and other vulnerable deep-sea habitat forming species over the past ten years of deep-sea fishing on seamounts on the high seas according to a report provided to SPRFMO by New Zealand in September of last year.

The United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly called on States and regional fisheries treaty organisations, such as SPRFMO, to prevent bottom trawl fishing in sensitive habitats and other areas of deep-sea biodiversity or else prohibit bottom trawl fishing. The UN’s 1st World Ocean Assessment in 2016, in reviewing the status of seamounts worldwide, expressed concern that “deepwater trawling has caused severe, widespread, long-term destruction of these environments globally”.

“We are very disappointed that SPRFMO member countries were convinced by New Zealand and Australia to adopt a deeply flawed regulation that will allow continued degradation and destruction of biologically rich and diverse ecosystems in the deep-sea from the Louisville Ridge in the western central South Pacific all the way across to the Tasman Sea” said Matthew Gianni, co-founder of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition who attended the meeting. “And all of this to provide fishing opportunities for a handful of New Zealand bottom trawl vessels to catch 1,500 tonnes of orange roughy, a long-lived species of fish highly vulnerable to overfishing, on the high seas. This runs completely counter to resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly since 2006 and global negotiations to conserve and protect marine biodiversity in the international waters of the world’s oceans.”

As a result of concerns expressed by the European Union, the regulation will be reviewed by the next meeting of SPRFMO’s Scientific Committee to determine whether in fact it does provide protection to deep-sea biodiversity. “We are urging SPRFMO member countries to scrutinize this regulation much more carefully than they have done this week and ensure that at the next meeting of SPRFMO it is amended to ensure the protection of biologically rich and diverse deep-sea ecosystems”.


For further information contact:

Matthew Gianni, DSCC: +31 646 168 899

Duncan Currie, DSCC: +31 622 582 374

Note to editors:

UN 1st World Ocean Assessment, 2016. Chapter 51. Biological Communities on Seamounts and Other Submarine Features Potentially Threatened by Disturbance (page 15).

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image © Mike Markovina

18 September, 2018

Source: WWF

In a letter submitted today to Karmenu Vella and Cecilia Malmström, 40 environmental organisations call for the European Commission to uphold the current State Aid Guidelines to the fisheries sector and prevent subsidies for the construction of new fishing vessels in the EU’s outermost regions.

The European Commission is currently planning a revision of the State Aid Guidelines that will grant subsidies to the fishing sector for the construction of new vessels. The current ban against these types of subsidies has existed in the EU since 2004 and was maintained during the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy in 2014 due to the detrimental effects additional vessels have on the marine environment.

Continue reading 40 organisations call on Commissioners Vella and Malmström to uphold subsidies ban on new fishing vessels

29 June, 2018

The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) which represents over 80 non-governmental organizations concerned with protecting the deep sea, called on the European Union to protect deepwater corals, instead of protecting its fleet’s fishing activities on deep sea vulnerable marine ecosystems.

Continue reading Conservation Groups Call On European Union to Protect Deepwater Corals Rather Than Its Fishing Fleet

29 June, 2018

Source: Europa Press

La Coalición para la Protección de las Aguas Profundas (DSCC, por sus siglas en inglés) que aglutina a más de 80 ONG ha solicitado a la Unión Europea que proteja los corales de aguas profundas ante las actividades pesqueras de su flota en los ecosistemas profundos vulnerables.

Continue reading ONG piden a la UE que proteja frente a su flota pesquera los corales de aguas profundas en el Índico

24 January, 2018
(report of the DSCC in conjunction with Seas At Risk)

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on 16 January on ocean governance which addressed the growing international interest in deep-sea mining. This was followed by a debate at an event hosted by Members of European Parliament (MEPs) Linnéa Engström and Marco Affronte on 24 January entitled ‘Bring deep-sea mining to the surface! Environmental considerations and a need to shed light on decisions’.

Continue reading The European Parliament holds debate on deep-sea mining after adopting resolution on international ocean governance