Protecting Marine Biodiversity From Deep Sea Mining Activities

Source: Phys.org/Tim Lucas/Duke University

Photo: Yannis Papanastasopoulos/Unsplash

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An international team of researchers has developed a comprehensive set of criteria to help the International Seabed Authority (ISA) protect local biodiversity from deep-sea mining activities. These guidelines should help identify areas of particular environmental importance where no mining should occur.

“Areas near active hydrothermal vents on mid-ocean ridges have been approved for future exploration for ore deposits, but the  has not yet started, so we still have an opportunity to put into place effective  plans,” said Daniel C. Dunn, assistant research professor in the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

The International Seabed Authority, which was established under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, is responsible for reviewing all applications to mine in waters outside national jurisdiction, and for putting into place an environmental management plan for these areas.

“This paper contributes to that process by identifying a framework for developing a network of areas that should remain off-limits,” said Dunn, who was a co-lead author of the paper.

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Photo: Yannis Papanastasopoulos/Unsplash

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