How to Protect the Deep Sea

Date: December 28, 2018

Source: Pew Charitable Trusts

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) was established to manage mining on the international seabed and to protect the marine environment from its harmful effects. Striking a balance is a formidable challenge.

All mining operations, land or sea, cause environmental damage. Research strongly suggests that deep-sea mining will result in the loss of biodiversity—losses that may be permanent.1How can that loss be minimized? The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) requires the ISA to manage activities in the international seabed “for the benefit of mankind as a whole” and to “ensure the effective protection of the marine environment” from mining’s harmful effects. In order for the ISA to fulfill its protection obligations, it will need to manage ecological impacts at a regional scale as well as take steps to prevent and mitigate effects within individual mining sites.

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