VME

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

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12
Dec
2017

Source: Marine Conservation Institute 
Author: Sam Georgian

Seamounts are underwater mountains rising thousands of feet from the bottom of the ocean. Due to their size and shape, seamounts exert a strong influence on local currents that results in nutrient enrichment and increased food supply. As a result, these massive features are often highly productive ‘oases’ in the deep sea, supporting a large diversity of species including functionally important deep-sea corals (Stocks and Hart 2007). Deep-sea corals provide essential habitat structures for a large number of associated organisms, including many commercially important fish. These communities are currently at risk from a number of threats including climate change, oil and gas extraction, and benthic fisheries.

Continue reading Needle in a haystack: identifying vulnerable marine ecosystems in the deep sea

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4
Aug
2017

Source: Scientific America
Author: Shannon Hall

Two years ago, Shana Goffredi raced to the control room of the R/V Western Flyer, a 117-foot-long research ship in the Gulf of California. Television monitors onboard the vessel displayed what looked like an alien world near the ocean bottom, and Goffredi wanted to get a better look.

Continue reading Bizarro Life-Forms Inhabiting Deep-Sea Vents May Be at Risk

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20
Jul
2017

Source: New Scientist
Author: Karl Gruber

In the depths of the ocean, life can extend far beyond its usual limits. Take the tube worm Escarpia laminata: living in an environment with a year-round abundance of food and no predators, individuals seem to live for over 300 years. And some may be 1000 years old or more – meaning they would have been around when William the Conqueror invaded England.

Continue reading Giant deep-sea worms may live to be 1000 years old or more

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22
Mar
2017

Summary of the presentation by Matthew Gianni, Co-Founder, Political and Policy Advisor, Deep Sea Conservation Coalition to the workshop entitled “Towards an ISA Environmental Management Strategy for the Area” co-sponsored by the government of Germany and the International Seabed Authority (ISA), Berlin, 20-24 March 2017.

Continue reading A civil society perspective on drafting environmental regulations for deep-sea mining

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25
Jan
2017

Source: Frontiers in Marine Science

Authors: Les Watling and Peter J. Auster

The ecological sustainability of fishing in the deep sea, in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), rose to the attention of the member States of the United Nations and elicited action in 2004 and then more strongly in 2006 (Gianni et al., 2011). Mounting evidence of the effects of fishing in the deep sea, such as the destruction of deep sea coral communities at sites around the globe, and the slow growth, time to maturity and tremendous age reached by some species of deep sea fish, caused many to consider the sustainability of common fishing practices. 

Continue reading Seamounts on the High Seas Should Be Managed as Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems

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13
Dec
2016

The European Parliament today concluded a long process of negotiation by voting to adopt a new regulation on deep-sea fishing, including a ban on bottom trawling below 800 meters in EU waters, and an obligation to close deep-sea areas to bottom fishing to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs). The Parliament vote to approve the regulation paves the way for its entry into force early in the new year. The priority now is to ensure vigorous and effective implementation.

Continue reading Conservationists urge full implementation of new EU regulation on deep-sea fishing formally adopted today

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