The DSCC is calling for:
- High seas fishing nations and regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) to effectively conserve and protect deep-sea species and ecosystems by implementing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions on deep-sea fisheries, specifically, to:
- Effectively implement the precautionary approach and protect all areas from the harmful impacts of deep-sea fishing, in particular bottom trawl fishing, where vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems are known or likely to occur;
- Conduct legitimate environmental impact assessments;
- Ensure that the catch of deep-sea species is sustainable and that the bycatch of non-target species is eliminated, in particular the bycatch of vulnerable, threatened or endangered species.
- Regular review by the UN General Assembly of the performance of individual RFMOs in the implementation of the UN resolutions.
- Improvement in the next UNGA resolution regarding global accountability of States and RFMOs that manage deep-sea fisheries on high seas.
- Implementation of the European Union deep-sea fisheries regulation adopted in 2016, in particular that:
- The procedures for annual identification of vulnerable marine ecosystem (VME) areas are based on the best scientific information possible, that the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) makes clear recommendations for area closures on the basis of the precautionary approach, and that the area closures are effectively and expeditiously adopted by the Commission;
- No authorizations or reauthorizations are issued by EU Member States for fishing using bottom trawl gear below 800 meters depth;
- Appropriate mechanisms are in place for monitoring, control and surveillance to ensure compliance with the prohibition of bottom trawling below 800 meters and the bottom fisheries area closures to protect VMEs;
- The procedure for mapping the bottom fisheries footprint is as strictly defined as possible and completed by 13 January 2018 as required under Article 7.2 of the regulation;
- Any environmental impact assessments (EIAs) that are done for fishing in new areas outside of the footprint are conducted according to high standards/best practice and properly reviewed and that deep-sea bottom fishing is not permitted in new fishing areas unless the EIA clearly demonstrates that damage to deep-sea ecosystems will not occur;
- Member states establish observer programs as required and that these programs collect sufficient data on a timely basis to allow for the proper evaluation of the programs by 1 January 2018 as required under Article 16.3 of the regulation;
- All deadlines established under the regulation for both the Commission and member states are adhered to.
Deep seabed mining
The DSCC holds that there should be a moratorium on: deep seabed mining; the adoption of seabed mining regulations for exploitation (including the “International Seabed Authority Exploitation Regulations”); and the issuing of exploitation and new exploration contracts, unless and until:
- The environmental, social and economic risks are comprehensively understood;
- It can be clearly demonstrated that deep seabed mining can be managed in such a way that
ensures the effective protection of the marine environment and prevents loss of biodiversity;
- Where relevant, there is a framework in place to respect the free, prior, informed consent of
Indigenous peoples and to ensure consent from potentially affected communities;
- Alternative sources for the responsible production and use of the metals also found in the deep
sea have been fully explored and applied, such as reduction of demand for primary metals, a
transformation to a resource efficient, closed-loop materials circular economy, and responsible
terrestrial mining practices;
- Public consultation mechanisms have been established and there is broad and informed public
support for deep seabed mining, and that any deep seabed mining permitted by the
International Seabed Authority fulfills the obligation to ‘benefit (hu)mankind as a whole’ and
respects the Common Heritage of Mankind; and
- Member States reform the structure and functioning of the International Seabed Authority to
ensure a transparent, accountable, inclusive and environmentally responsible decision-making
and regulatory process to achieve the above.