Deep sea news (30 January – 6 February)

Date: February 8, 2023

Check out the top stories from the deep, taken from coverage between 30 January – 6 February 2023

Deep sea reefs are spectacular and barely explored – they must be conserved

Source: The Conversation

Author: Paris Stefanoudis

Reefs and corals do not stop where the sunlight becomes scarce. Largely hidden from the masses lie great expanses of deep reefs, which collectively have a larger geographic footprint than their shallower counterparts.

Falling between depth classifications, ‘deep reefs’ are a largely neglected but vital area of ecological diversity. Between 30 and 300 metres, ‘deep reefs’ are harder to study as researchers face dwindling light and oxygen supplies. The variations in the sea life however is vast: “hard corals and other light-dependent organisms that dominate the shallows become less abundant. They’re replaced by other photosynthetic groups such as fleshy algae, until they too get replaced by sponges, soft corals and sea fans”. Stefanoudis outlines why this neglected area demands conservation.

Discovered in the deep: the anglerfish with vampire-like sex lives

Source: The Guardian

Author: Helen Scales 

Angler fish are “by far” the most prevalent and varied vertebrate species occupying the deep. Beyond their remarkable ecological variations, their behaviours are captivating and confounding scientists. Involving ‘biting’, ‘fusing’ and ‘clamping’, the sexual reproduction of these creatures is still a source of debate, and with scientist James Maclaine’s discovery of a new species, the investigation into these ‘vampiric’ creatures is only just beginning.

Canada under pressure to ban deep-sea mining as global ocean summit starts in Vancouver

Source: CBC

Protesters in Vancouver called for a ban on deep-sea mining on Saturday at a global ocean conservation conference where delegates from 123 countries are working to figure out how to protect 30 per cent of the ocean by 2030.

Protesters called on Canada to support a moratorium on the nascent destructive industry and criticised would-be deep-sea miners for ‘greenwashing.’

Protecting 30 percent of oceans a huge challenge for the planet

Source: France 24

A key issue at the heart of IMPAC5 in Canada is how we go from protecting eight percent of marine areas to 30 percent in under 10 years.

Sian Owen, director of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition highlighted that “it is crucial that both existing and emerging industries that threaten our deep ocean are quickly and unequivocally rejected and that we sustainably manage the remaining 70 percent.”

Government accused of backing the fishing industry over South Pacific conservation

Source: Stuff

Author: Andrea Vance

The New Zealand Government faced criticism for putting commercial interests ahead of environmental protection at SPRFMO (South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation). The DSCC said that under one model, the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation would allow bottom trawling over 30 per cent of seamounts.

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