Update on Deep-Sea Mining and the Fight for a Global Moratorium


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This July, global leaders are gathering in Kingston, Jamaica, at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to finalize and negotiate international regulations on deep-sea mining.

Learn more about what this means and what is at stake for the ocean.

Deep-Sea Mining is in the Spotlight this July

The deep sea has reached an inflection point when it comes to the future of this critical ecosystem—and the world is taking notice. 

The most important meeting in our generation's history on deep-sea mining is now officially underway, with global leaders gathering in Jamaica this month to make some of the most important decisions regarding the future of our deep sea—the largest and most pristine habitat on Earth. 

From July 10-28, member states, delegates, and representatives are convening at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) 28th Session Council & Assembly Meetings to finalize regulations and negotiations on if and how mining the seabed for minerals can take place on a commercial and international scale. 

(Spoiler alert: this is a really bad idea. We have the science and the backing of hundreds of experts to prove it.)


The Role of the International Seabed Authority

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is the governing body responsible for monitoring and regulating deep-sea activity, with a particular emphasis on deep-sea mining.

Based in Kingston, Jamaica, and formed in 1982 through the United Nations, the ISA is mandated to ensure “marine environments are protected from harmful, deep-sea mining-related effects.”

Despite this mandate, the ISA has awarded dozens of licenses for exploration over the years, many of which also hypothetically allow for extraction for "research purposes."

Many have questioned the integrity and validity of the ISA due to its controversial relationship and vested interest with key players in the deep-sea mining industry such as the Metals Company.

The "Two-Year Rule"

The urgency with which we are campaigning against deep-sea mining is due to the “two-year rule” — a legal clause that was triggered in July 2021 when the island state of Nauru announced its intentions to begin deep-sea mining for profit. 

Because of this, mining licenses could be issued as early as July 2023, even if the regulations are not finished.

This means that the ISA is now looking to finalize its rule book on mineral exploitation in the depths of the ocean, or we risk deep-sea mining proceeding without environmental regulations.





The Growing Wave of Resistance Against Deep-Sea Mining

Since the two-year rule went into effect, SOA and our partner organizations have been dedicated to advocating and campaigning against deep-sea mining to spread awareness and incite action to stop this destructive practice—before it truly begins.

Collectively, we have made significant progress, with 18 member states now having made official positions against deep-sea mining from taking place in international waters.

2-Jul-13-2023-06-52-38-2207-PMIn addition to the growing international commitments from member states, deep-sea mining has also been hitting major headlines across the globe.

From recent research findings of 5,000+ new deep-sea species being discovered to the fishing industry backing a moratorium on deep-sea mining to protect global fish stocks, our allies in this fight go beyond the scope of governments and elected officials.

For more information on these recent discoveries and announcements, visit the Additional Resources section at the end of this blog. 



What Comes Next?

This momentum is a clear signal to the ISA that informed opposition to deep-sea mining is gaining tremendous international traction amidst these July meetings.

SOA will be joining our Regional Representatives for these meetings in Kingston over the next few weeks as we continue our work on the ground and give a voice to the hundreds of thousands of global citizens and youth who stand against deep-sea mining.

We will be providing firsthand critical updates from the ISA meetings with insight into what is being discussed, negotiated, and agreed upon.

Keep up with what is happening at the ISA 28th Session with Deep Sea Conservation Coalition's ISA Negotiations Tracker


How YOU Can Help

If you’re ready to take action here are a few steps you can take to prevent deep-sea mining:

Ocean Advocates:


Divest from these deep-sea mining companies:


Additional Resources:

About Deep-Sea Mining:

About Deep Sea Mining by Deep Sea Conservation Coalition

What Is Deep-Sea Mining and Why Does It Matter? by SOA Founder & CEO Daniela V. Fernandez

Recent Government Movements & Announcements:

Canada Joins Nearly 20 Nations Calling for Halt to Deep-Sea Mining as Negotiators Meet to Agree Rules

US Congressman Ed Case Introduces Measures To Halt Deep-Seabed Mining Until Full Consequences Understood And Protective Regulatory Regimes Established

UK should press pause on deep-sea mining, Labour says

Cook Islands PM ‘proceeds with caution’ on deep-sea mining as critics warn over risks

Irish Government calls for a precautionary pause of deep-sea mining on the international seabed

Sweden says no to deep-sea mining before more knowledge is available

Swiss want moratorium on deep-sea mining

Recent Articles and Research Discoveries: 

TIME: Deep Sea Mining Isn't a Viable Climate Solution

Seabed Mining Moratorium Is Legally Required by U.N. Treaty, Legal Experts Find

Seafood industry joins chorus of groups calling for halt to deep-sea mining plans

Pacific Ocean Deep-Sea Mining Could Threaten Tuna ‘Climate Refuge’

More than 5,000 new species discovered in Pacific deep-sea mining hotspot




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