Protecting the Deep Sea

Vast and dark, and comprising 90 percent of the earth’s biosphere, the deep sea and its seabed are the least understood and studied places on earth. But we do know that it contains unique and vulnerable ecosystems, from hydrothermal vents to deep sea trenches, to underwater volcanic mountains or seamounts, to a plethora of micro and bacterial organisms.

Yet, the threat of deep-sea mining looms and presents a grave threat to the delicate and complex ecosystems that inhabit the depths of our ocean.  Driven by the pursuit of valuable rare metals and enabled by advances in technology that allow companies to explore and extract deeper and farther than ever before, deep-sea mining has the potential to unleash irreversible damage, disrupting the balance of marine life. While the full impacts of deep-sea mining are largely unknown, we do know that it will destroy ecosystems and marine organisms before we know what we have lost.

RISE UP is supporting campaign goals to secure the commitment of countries to establish a moratorium on deep-sea mining by the UN Ocean Conference 2025

Why is this a RISE UP Priority Campaign?

RISE UP has placed a high priority on calling on governments to support a moratorium on deep-sea mining, as it aligns with the following key aspects of the Blue Call to Action:

  • Stop any further development of new activities which harm ocean health, such as seabed mining.
  • Prohibit new or expanded exploitation of deep-sea species.
  • Protect and restore threatened and endangered species, habitats and ecological functions.
  • Sustainably manage the world’s ocean to ensure its health and safeguard the livelihoods of those who depend on it for survival and cultural importance

What’s Next

Under the UN Law of the Sea Convention, the seabed is considered “common heritage of mankind” and a global common to be shared by all.  Exploratory contracts for deep-sea mining have already been issued to government-sponsored contractors, and negotiations are currently underway at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to determine if and when corporations may begin to formally conduct mining.  There is therefore only a small window of time to ensure that the allure of short-term gains does not result in detrimental and irreversible consequences from deep-sea mining to our planet’s last unexplored frontier.

How you can help

Head over to defendthedeep.org to call on your government to support a moratorium on deep-sea mining.

If you are part of the private sector, you can headover to WWF’s No Deep-Sea Mining campaign to support a moratorium too.

Key Partners

Deep Sea Conservation Coalition

Resources