Authors: Susanna Fuller, Duncan Currie, Matthew Gianni, Lyn Goldsworthy, Cassandra Rigby, Kathryn Schleit, Colin Simpfendorfer, Les Watling, Barry Weeber.
16 years have passed since the UNGA first called for States and RFMOs “urgently to adopt … conservation and management measures, in accordance with international law, to address the impact of destructive fishing practices.
This report by the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) reviews the progress made since 2016 and makes recommendations on what more should be done to ensure that both individual high-seas fishing nations and regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) fully implement the actions called for in UNGA Resolutions 61/105, 64/72, 66/68 and 71/123. It is the latest in a series produced by the DSCC that have been published in advance of the formal reviews conducted by the UNGA.
Although the UNGA review workshop scheduled for August 2020 was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the information in this report is relevant to RFMO Commission and Scientific Committee meetings taking place over the next 12 months and will help inform the UNGA workshop when it is rescheduled. All documents are available only in English.
Deep-Sea Fishing, European Union, High Seas, New Zealand, Policy, Science
CCAMLR, General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean, North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission, North Pacific Fisheries Commission, Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, South East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation, South Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement, South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation, UNGA
Beyond the boundaries of national jurisdiction, the ocean floor and its minerals are governed by a comprehensive international regime, which determines by whom and under what conditions these natural resources can be prospected, explored and exploited. The main principles are set out in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1994 Implementation Agreement, while more detailed rules are included in specific regulations of the International Seabed Authority (ISA). The ISA has issued rules for the first phases of deep sea mining activities (prospecting and exploration), but has yet to adopt exploitation regulations. A draft version is however being developed and provides a good indication of the current state of play. With regard to transparency and public participation, significant improvements can be identified, but considering the influence of NGOs and their crucial role as watchdogs, the power of third-party stakeholders can still be deemed fairly limited. This article analyzes the existing principles and available options regarding transparency, public participation and access to justice in all phases of deep sea mining activities, identifies the main weaknesses and suggests possible corrections, all the while assessing whether such provisions should be considered a luxury or rather the implementation of an enforceable legal obligation.
The ISA has issued three sets of draft guidelines and standards for deep-sea mining for public comment. These are the ‘Draft guideline on the preparation and assessment of an application for the approval of a Plan of Work for exploitation’; the ‘Draft standard and guidelines on the development and application of environmental management systems’; and the ‘Draft standard and guidelines on the form and calculation of an environmental performance guarantee’.
Below is the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition comments on these draft guidelines and standards.
The SC8 meeting, hosted by New Zealand, is being held remotely from 3 to 8 October 2020. The Chairperson of the SC is Dr Jim Ianelli (USA) and the Vice Chairperson is Mr Niels Hintzen (EU). All official meeting documents and other relevant information can be found on the SPRFMO SC8 webpage.
The DSCC wrote this letter to the Acting President of the ISA Council, respectfully requesting that Observers be notified of all deliberations taking place under the silence procedure, including prospective decisions.
This is the formal written submission from the DSCC to the virtual European sub-regional consultation process on the implementation of the United Nations Environment Assembly Resolution 4/19 on Mineral Resource Governance, submitted September 10, 2020.
Plans for the world’s first deep sea mine are taking shape in the waters off Papua New Guinea. The ocean floor is rich in gold, copper and other minerals in big demand around the world. But some scientists warn that digging up the seabed will destroy marine life, and Sir David Attenborough is among those objecting. BBC News science editor David Shukman reports.