Deep-sea mineral resources and environmental management

diligentdeputyManagement

Nov 8, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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www.southampton.ac.uk

The

United

Nations

International

Seabed

Authority

(ISA)

is

responsible

for

managing

mineral

resources

on

the

deep

ocean

seabed

in

areas

beyond

national

jurisdiction
.

Minerals

may

occur

in

massive

polymetallic

sulphides

on

ocean

ridges,

cobalt

rich

ferromanganese

crusts

on

seamounts

and

polymetallic

nodules

lying

on

abyssal

sediments
.

Dr

David

Billett,

Co
-
Chair

of

the

Ocean

Biogeochemistry

and

Ecosystems

Group,

NOCS,

is

a

member

of

the

UN

ISA

Legal

and

Technical

Commission,

charged

with

ensuring

that

deep
-
sea

mineral

resources

are

exploited

within

a

robust

environmental

management

plan
.



Mining

in

the

deep
-
sea

will

have

significant

local

impacts
.

Large

areas

of

seafloor

will

be

disturbed

leading

to

the

complete

removal

of

fauna
.

It

is

therefore

essential

to

know

how

quickly

areas

will

be

recolonised

and

over

what

scales

biodiversity

needs

to

maintained

to

allow

seabed

communities

to

recover
.

This

requires

knowledge

of

how

species

are

distributed

in

different

habitats

in

the

deep

ocean,

their

life

processes,

such

as

reproduction

and

dispersal,

and

the

major

drivers

of

species

change

in

the

deep

sea
.

The

drivers

include

sea

surface

primary

productivity

which

fuels

the

vast

majority

of

species

in

the

oceans,

even

in

the

deepest

parts
.


Research

at

NOCS

is

using

molecular

and

experimental

techniques

to

understand

how

widely,

or

not,

species

are

distributed

in

the

world

ocean,

how

interconnected

localised

communities

are,

for

instance

on

different

seamounts,

and

how

productivity

leads

to

species

change

in

space

and

time
.

Deep
-
sea mineral resources and

environmental management

Environment and Resources

International

treaties

are

charged

with

deciding

on

how

spatial

planning

of

the

ocean

might

allow

the

exploitation

of

resources

and

the

conservation

of

biodiversity,

including

the

creation

of

large

Marine

Protected

Areas

(MPAs)
.

NOCS

research

is

being

used

to

decide

how

large

the

MPAs

should

be,

what

number,

what

shape

and

their

configuration
.


The

work

is

contributing

to

decisions

being

taken

at

the

UN

International

Seabed

Authority,

the

UN

Convention

on

Biological

Diversity,

the

Oslo
-
Paris

Convention

for

the

Protection

of

the

Marine

Environment

in

the

NE

Atlantic

(OSPAR)

and

the

European

Commission
.

For further information:


Dr David Billett

Ocean Biogeochemistry and
Ecosystems Group

National Oceanography
Centre, Southampton


dsmb@noc.soton.ac.iuk