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Greenpeace organized a peaceful demonstration on the protection of the ocean outside the headquarters of the ISA. Photo ENB.

From the Editor: Big moves at the second part of the 25th Session of the International Seabed Authority

Last week saw the conclusion of the 25th Session of the International Seabed Authority. Though much progress was made, significant work still lies ahead to meet to self-imposed 2020 deadline for implementing the draft exploitation regulations. As always, the Earth Negotiations Bulletin has provided a comprehensive summary of the overall meeting as well as day-to-day […]

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A big-hearted iron snail is the first deep-sea species to be declared endangered due to seabed mining.

In 2001, on an expedition to hydrothermal vent fields in the Indian Ocean, researchers made a bizarre discovery. Clustered in small aggregations around the base of a black smoker was an unusual snail, seemingly clad in a suit of armor. Rather than a single, hard, calcareous structure, the snail’s operculum was covered in a series […]

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26 years after experimental mining, a seabed ecosystem has yet to recover

In 1989, the largest attempt to model the impacts of a deep-sea mining operation was conducted across 1100 hectares of seafloor in the Peru Basin. The Disturbance and Recolonization Experiment (DISCOL) simulated polymetallic nodule extraction by dragging an 8-meter plough-harrow across a nodule field, creating 78 troughs that mimicked one likely consequence of dragging a […]

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Fig 3. Examples of metazoan megafauna photographed at the APEI6 seafloor during AUV survey. Scale bars representing 50 mm. (a) Actiniaria msp-6. (b) Actiniaria msp-13. (c) Bathygorgia cf. profunda. (d) Abyssopathes cf. lyra. (e) Left: Chonelasma sp.; right: Hyalonema sp. (f) Cladorhiza cf. kensmithi. (g) Bathystylodactylus cf. echinus. (h) Nematocarcinus sp. (i) Sabellida msp-1 (polychaete). (j) Left: Freyastera sp.; right: Caulophacus sp. (k) Psychropotes cf. longicauda. (l) Benthodytes cf. typica. (m) Coryphaenoides sp. (n) Typhlonus nasus. o and p: probable new Mastigoteuthis sp. Same specimen photographed with different cameras: (o) vertical view; (p) oblique view (Image taken ∼1″ prior to the vertical shot).

A year of discovery in the deep sea

2018 was a banner year for studies highlighting the importance of hydrothermal vents not just to the highly specialized communities that thrive around seafloor massive sulphides, but also to the surrounding benthic community. Vents provide nursery grounds for octopuses and deep-sea skates, but they also provide food for deep-sea and shallow water animals. At shallow-water […]

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Mapping the online conversation around Deep-sea Mining.

Social media offers a snapshot of the human networks surrounding a particular issue. It makes public the conversations and relationships that once were hidden behind closed doors and over private phone lines. And, when the conversation is well-organized, it assumes keywords that make it searchable as well. What you see below is the snapshot of […]

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Plastic ice bag found by a NOAA expedition to the Marianas in 2016. Image: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

Microplastics in The Deep Ocean

Rachel Pendergrass | 15 November 2018 Giant gyers of floating plastic have long been at the forefront of the public conversation around ocean pollution, but there has been a dearth of research on the deeper issue of plastic that reaches below the surface. Since the onset of mainstream plastic production begin in the 1940s and […]

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A strange spoon worm, an elegant sea pen, a stalked crinoid, and two xenophyophores with brittle stars. Credit: Mountains in the Sea 2004. NOAA Office of Ocean

All in the same boat: negotiations for biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction begin

Harriet Harden-Davies | 15 November 2018 “This is a chance to take a course correction while we still can…if we pull together, we can make it”. Rena Lee, president­­ of the intergovernmental conference—fondly referred to as Madame Captain—set an ambitious, positive and suitably nautical tone to open historic negotiations on 4 September 2018 at the […]

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