ISA Must Improve Regional Plans—and Processes—to Protect Ocean Life

Opinion/Editorial by Megan Jungwiwattanaporn When countries began to contemplate seabed mining decades ago, their representatives assumed that the ocean bottom was featureless and lifeless, uninteresting except for the minerals that might be recovered from it. Now we know that the seabed is, in fact, a varied tapestry of physical features and marine life rather than […]

Read More

Life Cycle Assessment will Play an Important in Decision Making for Deep-sea Mining

Maria Bolevich for the DSM Observer Last April, DeepGreen published a first of its kind life cycle analysis comparing the environmental, social, and economic impacts of land-based ores and deep-ocean polymetallic nodules. “Billions of tons of metal will be taken from the planet between now and 2050 to enable the clean energy transition,” says Gerard […]

Read More
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.  […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Ocean stakeholders discuss calls for moratorium on deep-sea mining.

Maria Bolevich for DSM Observer This fall saw an unprecedented emphasis on calls for moratoria on deep-sea mining. Several national deliberative bodies entertained discussions on supporting a moratorium, including within some contractor sponsoring states, while a public campaign, initiated by environmental NGOs who received a boost from public statements made by Sir David Attenborough, worked […]

Read More

Commentary: COVID-19 and the (ab)use of the silence procedure at the International Seabed Authority

Pradeep A. Singh Pradeep Singh is a research associate at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (Potsdam, Germany). Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the scheduled July 2020 session of the Legal and Technical Commission, the Council and the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) could not take place in-person in Kingston, Jamaica. While […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

The human impacts of mining the deep seafloor

Maria Bolevich for DSM Observer Stakeholders and policymakers rightly focus on the impacts that accessing ore from the bottom of the ocean will have on the marine environment, mineral supply chains, and next-generation technologies, but the consequences of this emerging industry will have social impacts that reach far beyond the seafloor. We contacted several individuals […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Deadlines and delays: What to expect from the next ISA meeting

After a multiple-month delay in response to the global pandemic, the International Seabed Authority is set to convene the second part of the 26th Session in Kingston Jamaica this December. While the format of the December meeting has not yet been announced, a previous postponement from July to October had the meeting substantially abridged compared […]

Read More