From the Editor: Getting a handle on jargon

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Palau nautilus from side. Palau, Micronesia. Photo by Lee R. Berger.
Palau nautilus from side. Palau, Micronesia. Photo by Lee R. Berger.

Deep-sea mining is plagued by inscrutable jargon that makes it very difficult to newcomers to engage meaningfully with the industry. One of the big complaints I heard at the Deep-sea Biology Symposium from graduate students and professionals who hadn’t spent much time on mining was that there were so many acronyms, generic technical terms, and long abbreviations and acronyms. It seems a minor complaint, but with essential stakeholders around the world, from a multitude of different backgrounds, clarity in language is important to ensure that everyone is discussing the same thing.

In the course of a single statement, we can discuss ABNJs, BBNJs, EIAs from BSR, REMPs for the CCZ, SPTs on PSVs near SMSs, all of which may be operating in what the ISA refers to simply as The Area. There’s a snail called Nautilus (Ifremeria nautilei) named after a submarine called Nautilus named after a different, fictional submarine called Nautilus, named after the cephalopod Nautilus. And that snail occurs on a mining prospect leased by Nautilus. This situation is not particularly forgiving to new stakeholders.

In this issue, I sit down with Gerard Barron and Dr. Samantha Smith of DeepGreen to talk about their company’s vision for the future of seafloor minerals. We look at some new technology being trialed in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone. And I spend some time disambiguating the various Nautili and Neptunes associate with the deep-sea mining community.