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Celebrating 20 Years of Deep-Sea Advocacy

2024 marks a major milestone for the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) – our 20th anniversary! It’s hard to believe that two decades have passed since the Coalition was launched in 2004 to address what at the time was perceived as the greatest physical threat to deep ocean health – bottom trawling. To celebrate all that has been achieved in the interim, we have a series of events and surprises lined up for 2024. We are immeasurably proud to recognize 20 years of unwavering commitment, on the part of our team and all of our member and partner organizations, to the conservation and protection of the deep sea. And we are excited for this chance to both reflect on successes to date and rally for the challenges ahead.

The first birthday present to unwrap is the DSCC’s new website, complete with a brand new URL: deep-sea-conservation.org. This modernized website serves both as a digital platform for key information and a fun, captivating voyage into the ocean depths. The revamped site, along with its new URL, encapsulates the very heart of the DSCC mission, inviting everyone to explore the world far beneath the waves.

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Looking back

Our commitment to that cause has only deepened since 2004, when the Coalition was convened in response to scientific warnings about the damage to deep-ocean ecosystems from bottom trawling. Co-Founders, Mathew Gianni and Karen Sack, brought together experts from IUCN, Greenpeace, WWF, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Marine Conservation Institute and other organizations to brainstorm ideas for campaigning against this unacceptable threat. And thus the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition was born. 

Two years later, in December 2006, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted Resolution 61/105, committing all countries fishing on the high seas to protect deep-sea ecosystems from the destructive impact of bottom fishing by December 2008. As is often the case with environmental regulations, implementation has been slower and more complex than originally hoped. Nonetheless, thanks in part to relentless DSCC advocacy at UNGA and in a range of fisheries management bodies, today, vessels from just a handful of States continue to deep-sea bottom-trawl on the high seas. The DSCC remains committed to an outright end to this practice on seamounts and other biodiversity hotspot underwater features, calling on all States to honour their UNGA commitments.

Meanwhile in 2012, deep-sea mining arrived on our radar as a new looming threat to the ocean. Within a couple of years, an early low key advocacy push crystalized into a global campaign for a moratorium on deep-sea mining, until the risks are comprehensively understood and protection of the marine environment and biodiversity is ensured. In conjunction with a growing host of members and partners, we have helped shine an international spotlight on the dangers of deep-sea mining, were it ever to commence. This has led to an ever-growing tide of opposition, with 24 countries now joining parliamentarians, Indigenous groups, major companies, and countless citizens to say “no” to deep-sea mining.

Looking Forward

From our humble beginnings 20 years ago, the DSCC has evolved into a robust coalition of over 115 members. This collective strength is a testament to the collaborative spirit driving our mission. Together, we have achieved breakthroughs that are shaping the global discourse around deep-sea conservation on fisheries management, deep-sea mining, and global ocean governance more broadly. We have been instrumental in bringing the deep sea into global consciousness. What was once ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is now firmly on the agenda. We are proud of the pivotal role played by the DSCC in shifting perceptions and highlighting the importance of protecting the deep – a mission that is more critical than ever in the face of the joint crisis in climate change and biodiversity loss.

Much remains to be done. Deep ocean ecosystems that are critical as the beating blue heart of our planet are in peril: seamount biodiversity is at risk from the heavy metal nets of bottom trawlers; deep-sea mining is being considered as a vast new extractive frontier; and new threats like the prospect of deep-sea geoengineering and carbon storage are emerging. The convening and coordination platform offered by the DSCC.

Happy 20th Birthday DSCC! We look forward to working with all our members, partners and supporters as we embark on our third decade dedicated to protecting the deep.

Sian Owen, DSCC’s Executive Director

 

    RISE UP brings together a network of 600 organisations worldwide in the shared mission to protect, restore and equitably govern the ocean. The Deep-Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) is a valued partner. Their policy expertise, innovative campaign strategies, and extensive communication resources have been vital to our progress. The collaborative partnership and shared ways of working are instrumental in our joint efforts, and we are thrilled to continue our fruitful collaboration with them.

    Flora McMorrin

    Campaigns Director, Rise Up

    We are currently working on one of the first legal actions against DSM before an international court, to show that DSM vilaotes Human Rights. The work of DSCC is fundamental for us, because it connects scientists, policy makers and campaigners, which is fundamental to bring this legal action. Without the science, law would be empty. Therefore we depend on the connections through the DSCC to build a strong network of scientists to support the case. 

    Dr. Anna von Rebay

    Founder, Ocean Vision Legal

    The DSCC saw the threat posed by deep sea mining before the vast majority of ocean conservation organizations. The DSCC has provided an invaluable platform of political expertise, communications and strategic advice to its > 100 member organizations and ensured that the threat of mining is now understood globally. In addition, DSCC campaigners are the tireless boots on the ground at global meetings - holding governments to account. 

    Susanna Fuller

    Vice President - Conservations and Project, Oceans North

    The DSCC has been absolutely essential for the Sustainable Ocean Alliance as we build out our Campaign Against Deep Seabed Mining. The team at DSCC has an incredible depth of experience in the topic of deep-sea mining, having engaged at the International Seabed Authority for many years. They provide insight on strategy, policy analysis, talking points, and cohesion and connection amongst the NGO community. Thanks to DSCC, NGO's focused on Deep Sea issues can come together and speak with a more unified voice. They have also been very supportive of youth engagement on deep-sea mining and have supported SOA youth to join their delegation at the ISA, providing them with in-person training and support as well.

    Emily E. Tewes

    Science and Policy Adviser, Sustainable Ocean Alliance

    The Deep Sea Mining Campaign has collaborated with the DSCC over the past 10 years. As a small campaign we have relied on DSCC to be our eyes and ears at international fora. We value the resultant analysis and intelligence and are highly impressed at the achievements of their lobbying.   Being a part of the now huge DSCC network has greatly assisted and amplified the impact of our own work. We believe that as the window of opportunity for stopping DSM gradually narrows, the work of the DSCC is more crucial than ever.

    Dr. Helen Rosenbaum

    Co-Founder/ Researcher, Deep Sea Mining Campaign

    Coordination, information sharing and coherent, joined-up advocacy are a vital component to successful campaigns for change and the DSCC fulfills all these functions with efficiency, effectiveness and impact. Helping to drive effective collaborations between NGOs on a global stage, the DSCC plays a crucial, central role in the efforts to prevent deep sea mining and the irreparable environmental damage it will cause. EJF is proud to be a member of the DSCC and we give our unequivocal support to its work.

    Steve Trent

    Co-Founder and CEO, Environmental Justice Foundation

    AbibiNsroma Foundation expresses profound gratitude to DSCC for giving education, capacity building, information sharing and hope to communities . THANK YOU DSCC FOR PROTECTING THE DEEP SEA FOR ALL OF THE LOCAL COMMUNITY 

    Kenneth Nana Amoateng

    Executive Director, AbibiNsroma Foundation

    We depend on DSCC to keep us connected to the global effort to protect the deep ocean from mining. DSCC enables us to ensure that our advocacy on mining and related issues at home also supports and bolsters advocacy going on around the world and that we are all working together in this fight. The capacity DSCC provides also allows us to do more thanks to support and guidance from coalition staff and fellow members.

    Addie Haughey

    Legislative Director, Lands, Wildlife, and Oceans, Earthjustice

    It is hard to overstate the importance of the DSCC. The oceans are the last and most important planetary commons - all previous great mass extinctions have arisen due to a rise in ocean CO2 levels. The DSCC is the civil society coalition that has been working on the deep sea, with considerable success in fisheries, biodiversity and deep sea minerals.

    Rahul Basu

    Goa Foundation

    DSCC's fundamental, fact-based, and great work is essential to our work against the exploitation and destruction of deep-sea habitats. DSCC's expertise in this area is breathtaking.

    Deutsche Stiftung Meeresschutz

    I resurface on the DSM SPACE thanks to a small but very instrumental allocation from DSCC that helped finance CSFT Deep Sea Mining since it started in 2012. They also help to find our second donor. The Pacific Strategy Group is one of their biggest legacy to the Pacific. Their legal and technical support in order for us to understand the ISA language and Tonga responsibilities as a Sponsoring State has been very valuable. Matt, Sian, Duncan and Phil are the DSM angels - they were there from day one...supporting our work and providing articles and analysis that helped me strategies my DSM campaign in an unprecedented manner.  I would never articulate how appreciative and blessed I am to have organization like DSCC, that has the manpower and the political will to support small Pacific islanders like us..in defending our global Ocean. Their networks is far reaching and has become the backbone of my references. The people like Emma who does fantastic work...super efficient. Thank you DSCC for helping us in the past 3 years. I would never had done my job as effective and as successfully had not been for your support and continued guidance.

    Jtita Kara

    Civil Society Forum of Tonga

    The DSCC's endorsement and support is fundamental for our work at Sciaena, making our job much easier as we strive to protect the deep sea. Collaborating with them empowers us to amplify our efforts and achieve greater impact in safeguarding these vulnerable ecosystems. We greatly appreciate their commitment to safeguarding the deep seabed from the destructive impacts of mining and we consider that their advocacy and expertise play a vital role in raising awareness and fostering sustainable practices that ensure the long-term health of our ocean.

    Ana Matias

    Sciaena

    Working with the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition has meant the world to us at Greenpeace. It has allowed us to feed into a global network of people working on the issue. We are all able to feed into each other's work, and lift each other up as we go. This makes far more sense than working in silos. It has meant we have been exceptionally effective. This has been a truly global effort to stop deep sea mining and I appreciate the DSCC immensely.

    James Hita

    Greenpeace

    The DSCC brings together a broad coalition of organizations that care about our deep ocean. The DSCC's strength lies in the diverse interests and expertise of its members, as well as the excellence of its staff and leadership. The DSCC exponentially multiplies the work that The Ocean Foundation and other organizations do to safeguard our deep ocean.  The DSCC has an intelligent, sophisticated, highly effective staff who amplify and multiply the work of its members. DSCC also creates top quality substantive work products relied upon by industry and states as well as civil society.

    Bobbi-Jo Dobush

    Legal Officer, The Ocean Foundation

    As a global coalition DSCC is critical in the struggle to stop deep seabed mining from starting. A global struggle of this kind cannot succeed without sensitive central coordination. DSCC provides that coordination, as well as critical and timely legal, technical, and scientific expertise when DSCC members or partners need information quickly to respond to media requests or requests from the public in their home regions. MiningWatch Canada is happy to be a DSCC partner.

    Catherine Coumans, Ph.D.

    Research Coordinator and Asia-Pacific Program Coordinator, MiningWatch Canada

20th Anniversary Toolkit

 

DSCC’s 20 Anniversary Book