A global petition urging the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to discontinue deep-sea exploration permits and to initiate a moratorium on deep-sea mining has gathered over 700,000 signatures from concerned citizens around the world. The petition will be presented later this week to the International Seabed Authority during the 21st Annual Meeting of the ISA in Kingston, Jamaica.
The race to lay claim to the ocean floor for valuable minerals has been heavily debated over the past few years. The governments of Australia and Namibia have recently adopted or renewed moratoria on seabed mining in their waters while they consider more thoroughly the potential risks and benefits. In a similar vein, over the past year, the Environmental Protection Authority of New Zealand has rejected two applications for seabed mining within New Zealand waters.
Those are important, potentially precedent setting decisions which may help inform the ISA as it meets this week to discuss all mining related activities in the 50% of the seabed of the world’s oceans that lies beyond any country’s national jurisdiction. Several internationally acclaimed scientists are also voicing their concerns, calling for criteria and protocols to be put in place to prevent potentially negative impacts before our scientific understanding of what exists in the deep sea catches up with the race to exploit it.
Matthew Gianni, Political and Policy Advisor to the DSCC, is representing the coalition at the ISA meetings this week, and said “This petition underlines the keen global interest in the deliberations of this Authority, as well as in ensuring proper stewardship in the ‘common heritage of humanmankind’ that is the deep ocean.”
“The combined membership of the DSCC represents over 9 million supporters who hold the ISA responsible and accountable for protecting the biodiversity of the deep sea which belong to all of us”, Mr Gianni said.
The petition aims to highlight the global community’s concerns for our oceans, the many endemic species that call it home and their increasingly vulnerable habitats. It asks the ISA to prohibit deep-sea mining until proper independent impact assessments are conducted and appeals for greater transparency when considering deep-sea mining contracts.
Since the deep sea already faces a multitude of human driven threats, the ISA has a responsibility to help protect this sensitive ecosystem and protect many unique and yet to be discovered ecosystems vitally important to all life on earth.
You can add your voice to the petition here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/deep_sea_mining_loc/?tjxTGab