Seabed Mining and Approaches to Governance of the Deep Seabed

Last modified: 
January 3, 2019 - 12:30pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2018
Date published: 12/2018
Authors: Kirsten Thompson, Kathryn Miller, Duncan Currie, Paul Johnston, David Santillo
Journal title: Frontiers in Marine Science
Volume: 5

Commercial seabed mining seems imminent, highlighting the urgent need for coherent, effective policy to safeguard the marine environment. Reconciling seabed mining with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals will be difficult because minerals extraction will have irreversible consequences that could lead to the loss of habitats, species and ecosystems services. A dialog needs to take place around social, cultural, environmental and economic costs and benefits. Governance of human interactions with the seabed is fragmented and lacks transparency, with a heavy focus on facilitating exploitation rather than ensuring protection. In the light of high uncertainties and high stakes, we present a critical review of proposed policy options for the regulation of seabed mining activities, recommend actions to improve seabed governance and outline the alternatives to mining fragile deep-sea ecosystems.

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