Bites from the Deep
The Deep Sea Conservation Coalition is pleased to launch the first of our bi-annual News Updates – topline information on recent progress in the realm of deep sea protection and upcoming events and activities. We hope you enjoy the read, and welcome any and all feedback.
June-December 2017: The past half year
In June 2017, DSCC members attended the first UN Ocean Conference to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14. We submitted a commitment, which can be found here.
- Also in June we participated in the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA) Meeting of the Parties. Our focus was on strengthening the regulations and getting vulnerable marine ecosystem (VME) areas identified and closed to bottom fishing. Read our intervention here.
- The DSCC was part of the writing team, led by deep-sea biologists, of a piece entitled “Biodiversity loss from deep-sea mining”. Published in Nature Geoscience in June, the article states that biodiversity loss will be unavoidable if deep-sea mining is permitted.
- In July, DSCC members attended the BBNJ PrepCom 4 to ensure that the deep sea is adequately covered in the new implementing agreement of UNCLOS for the conservation of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
- We also attended a series of stakeholder workshops in New Zealand beginning in July to draft new regulations for deep-sea fishing in the high seas of the South Pacific. We focused on the need for effective environmental impact assessments, ground truthing data, the move-on rule, and VMEs. Read our briefing here.
- In August, we attended the International Seabed Authority (ISA) Annual Session to i) push for major improvements on ISA transparency, ii) advocate for stringent environmental provisions in the draft mining regulations, called on the ISA to set up an environment committee, and iv) build support for regional environmental management plans (REMPs) as a matter of urgency. Read our DSCC side event presentations, briefing and interventions.
- In September, member organization Ecology Action Centre attended the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Annual Meeting on behalf of the DSCC to apply pressure to do more to assess impacts on VMEs and to close seamounts to bottom fishing (NAFO agreed to close five more seamounts). EAC also worked to ensure that States fund the necessary science and consider climate change in the management measures. Find our recommendations here.
- In October, we attended the 4th Our Ocean Conference in Malta to build ties with new and existing partners and participate in a donor round table on deep seabed mining and participated in a public event in Lisbon organized by DSCC members Seas At Risk and Oceano Livre challenging the rationale behind deep-sea mining.
- In November, DSCC members attended the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) Annual Meeting to push for stronger measures on the catch and bycatch of deep-sea species (in particular sharks) and enforcement (in particular at-sea monitoring and measures to combat IUU fishing). Read our recommendations here.
- Throughout the year, we continued our work toward effective implementation of the deep-sea legislation adopted by the European Union in 2016.
January – June 2018: The Next Six Months
In January, the DSCC will attend the SPRFMO Sixth Commission Meeting to push for the SPRFMO to significantly improve its bottom fishing regulations and counter pressure from the New Zealand fishing industry. We will also participate in an event on deep-sea mining at European Parliament (EP) following the adoption of an EP resolution calling for a moratorium on deep-sea mining.
- In February, the DSCC and partners will attend a workshop on the “draft regulations for the exploitation of mineral resources in the Area: policy, legal and institutional consideration” in London.
- In March, the DSCC will attend The ISA Meeting of the Council around developing the regulatory framework for mining the seabed in areas outside national jurisdiction, and working to open up the ISA to scrutiny, reform and elevate political debate.
- In April, the DSCC will attend The North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC) Scientific Committee Meeting to reopen the scientific discussion on what types of VMEs exist in the region, where they are likely to occur, and the damage caused by bottom fishing. The goal is to enhance deep-sea ecosystem protection. Marine Policy will publish an article calling for no mining on active hydrothermal vents written by a multidisciplinary group of deep-sea biologists, ecologists, social scientists and others, including the DSCC. An advance publication can be found here.
- We will continue our engagement with UN processes and institutions, including preparations for the upcoming round of negotiations for a new high seas treaty.
- The DSCC will attend The SIOFA Scientific Committee Meeting in March and Annual Meeting in June to ensure that i) all environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for bottom fishing are effectively reviewed by the Scientific Committee, and ii) proposals are put forward to close areas of the South Indian Ocean to protect VMEs. We expect the EU to submit an EIA for its bottom fishery for deep-sea sharks.