A map of some southern MPAs

X-marks the spot: Why are some large, remote marine Protected Areas so oddly shaped?

A bold, ambitious plan to protect the ocean is underway. 30 by 30 aims to secure strong environmental protection for 30% of the ocean by 2030. To do this, nations are creating new large remote Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that cover huge swaths of their exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and preclude exploitation within these regions.  […]

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Crabs on a trash bag.

Plastic is reshaping ecosystems in the deep sea

One of the most challenging aspects of assessing and mitigating environmental harm from human use of ocean resources is that, as impacts propagate through the marine environment, human activities may not only remove existing habitats, but, in some cases, create entirely new ones. In offshore oil and gas exploration, cuttings piles can become home for […]

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Delegates struggle to develop Regional Environmental Management Plans during a global pandemic

Since the pandemic brought travel to a halt, the International Seabed Authority has been working to meet contractor deadlines and make progress on a variety of issues revolving around finalizing the mining code, facilitating workshops, and engaging stakeholders and experts through remote meetings. These efforts include workshops on the development of Regional Environmental Management Plans […]

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An incomplete tour of new species recently discovered in the deep ocean

New animal species that are genuinely new to science are remarkably rare. The modern process of discovering and describing a new species, particularly animals, usually follows a pattern of creating more and more nuanced distinctions between already known groups. “New to science” rarely means “never before observed”. In other words, when we find a new […]

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What did people talk about when they talked about deep-sea mining in 2020?

Almost 1 year ago, just before the commencement of the 26th Session of the International Seabed Authority in February, we began analytically tracking the online conversation surrounding deep-sea mining. Using a service called SocioViz, DSM Observer implemented a year-long sentiment and network analysis Big Listening campaign across a range of keywords used by stakeholders to […]

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What happens when we pull the trigger?

Throughout the 26th Session of the International Seabed Authority, during both the council meeting and via media interviews, deep-sea mining contractors have begun to talk about “the trigger”. The trigger is a protocol within UNCLOS which would allow sponsoring states to jumpstart the deep-sea mining process, placing a ticking clock on the development of the […]

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Beyond Batteries: exploring the demand for scandium and tellurium from the deep ocean

For the last decade, next-generation batteries have been the motivating force for the deep-sea mining industry. The electrification of the world’s vehicle fleets to wean society off of fossil fuels has created huge demands for cobalt, nickel, and other metals necessary for high-density batteries. The demand has placed the green revolution in a position where […]

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The United States moves towards exploration and exploitation of critical mineral resources in the deep ocean.

Since the signing of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the creation of the International Seabed Authority, the United States of America has been a shadow partner in the growing deep-sea mining industry. Though the United States provides scientific and technical expertise, and is a de facto participant through American-owned subsidiaries […]

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