DSCC News Updates

Bites from the Deep



  • In August, the DSCC submitted comments on the European Commission’s online survey on the importance of the EU deep-sea fisheries regulation and whether it has been effectively implemented. Encouragingly, the survey results indicate strong support for the regulation and the need to protect deep-sea ecosystems. However, it still requires considerable work towards implementation.
  • In September, DSCC member Oceans North attended the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Annual Meeting on the Canadian delegation. Black corals were added to the vulnerable marine ecosystem (VME) indicator list, but all VME closures and reviews were postponed to the 2021 meeting. No progress was made on addressing the Olympic shrimp fishery on the Flemish Cap, and despite scientific advice that the Flemish Cap cod fishery be limited to 1000 MT, it was agreed to fish 1500 T. Having recovered following a moratorium on directed fishing, the population is now headed towards another decline.
  • In October, the DSCC published a significant new report, titled “Preventing Biodiversity Loss in the Deep Sea”. This report reviews the progress made since 2016 to ensure that individual high-seas fishing nations and regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) fully implement the actions called for in UNGA Resolutions 61/105, 64/72, 66/68 and 71/123. It also makes recommendations on what more should be done. It is the latest in a series produced by the DSCC that have been published in advance of the formal reviews conducted by the UNGA.
  • Also in October, the DSCC attended the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation’s (SPRFMO) 8th Scientific Committee Meeting. We made several presentations to the Deep Water Working Group and the Scientific Committee as a whole, on VMEs, spatial management and encounter protocols. We also intervened to challenge the zonation model and call for more precautionary measures to be adopted. The SPRFMO annual Commission meeting starts on January 25. The DSCC will attend, advocating for these positions.
  • In November, the DSCC along with members Forest and Bird, Greenpeace, LegaSea, Our Seas Our Future and WWF NZ presented a 50,000 signature petition to the NZ Minister for Oceans and Fisheries outside Parliament. The list of names was attached to a giant model of a deep-sea bubblegum coral.
  • In November, the DSCC participated in the North Pacific Fisheries Commission’s (NPFC) Scientific Committee and Scientific Subcommittee on Bottom Fisheries and VMEs. The US introduced a proposal for a suspension of the bottom fishery on the NW Hawaiian and Emperor seamounts, based on the work of Dr. Amy Baco-Taylor. The DSCC supported the US proposal, referring to SDG Target 14.2, the UNGA deep-sea fisheries resolutions, and the past decade of inaction at the NPFC on VME protection.
  • In November, the DSCC also participated in the South Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA) 7th annual Meeting of Parties. We called for an RFMO-wide bottom fishing measure that:
    • establishes a fishing footprint;
    • adopts a VME encounter protocol consistent with the UNGA resolutions and the UN FAO International Guidelines;
    • protects VMEs everywhere they are known or likely to occur;
    • provides for VME closures (including seamounts).

However, the online format did not allow adequate time for discussion and slow progress was made.

  • Also in November, the DSCC attended the 39th Annual Meeting of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC). Among our recommendations were:
    • zero total allowable catch (TAC) for deep-sea species orange roughy, beaked redfish and roundnose grenadier;
    • swift progress to conserve deep-sea sharks;
    • a ban on bottom trawl fishing on seamounts and similar features within the NEAFC area.

Member States voted to prohibit directed fishing for orange roughy, a measure which the DSCC has pushed for several years. However, we opposed the TAC adopted for roundnose grenadier.



  • From 1st January 2020 to 16th December 2020, the DSCC’s presence on social media has significantly increased.
    • Our content has been seen by audiences 5,430% more than the previous year, with noticeable peaks around the launch of the Deep Trouble campaign in June and Deep Week in October
    • Audiences are also engaging with our content 1,778% more and clicking through to the links we share 1,205% more.
    • Our main campaign hashtag #DeepTrouble was seen 5 million times between June and 31st October, peaking again in October around Deep Week.
  • In the DSM Observer’s analysis of the DSM conversation on Twitter, published in March and September, a shift in tone was also reported.
    • The analysis suggested suggested that “the tenor of the online conversation has taken a notably negative tone over the last several months, with the hashtags #stopdeepseamining, #defendthedeep #deeptrouble, #oneoceanoneplanet, #notodeepseamining, and #keepitintheseabed appearing among the top ten hashtags used”.
    • Their analysis published in September also suggested a shift on social media and indicated that only the DSCC emerged as an influential and active voice on the issue of DSM.


  • 21 January – 1 February: SPRFMO Compliance and Technical Committee, Financial and Administration Committee, and Annual Commission Meeting
  • 25-29 January – The Davos Dialogues
  • 1-5 February: UN FAO Committee on Fisheries
  • 1-5 March: The Economist World Ocean Summit
  • 22-26 March: SIOFA Scientific Committee Meeting
  • 28 May – 10 June: NAFO Scientific Council and Standing Committees
  • 16-27 August: BBNJ Intergovernmental Conference 4
  • 3-11 September: IUCN World Conservation Congress
  • 20-24 September: NAFO Annual Meeting
  • TBD – Convention on Biological Diversity Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (CBD SBSTTA)
  • TBD – CBD Conference of the Parties (COP15)
  • TBD – Informal Consultation of Parties to the UN Fish Stocks Agreement
  • TBD – UN Ocean Conference
  • TBD 2021: International Seabed Authority Council and Assembly Meetings

The work of the DSCC is made possible thanks to the generosity of Arcadia Fund, Benioff Ocean Initiative, The Charles T. and Marion M. Thompson Foundation, J.M. Kaplan Fund, The Overbrook Foundation, The Schmidt Family Foundation 11th Hour Project, Synchronicity Earth, The Waterloo Foundation.

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For further information, please contact:
Sian Owen, Global Coordinator, info@savethehighseas.org
Matthew Gianni, Co-Founder and Political and Policy Advisor, Matthewgianni@gmail.com