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As the world gathers in Vancouver for the Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5) the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) urges delegates to safeguard the health of the whole ocean, from top to bottom.

Today, world leaders, government officials, scientists and civil society meet in Vancouver, Canada, for IMPAC5, a global forum taking place from 3-9 February focused on ambitious action to protect our ocean through marine protected areas. The DSCC will be present throughout, highlighting the critical steps we can take to defend the deep from key threats, including deep sea bottom trawling and deep-sea mining. The DSCC is advocating for a phase out of bottom trawling on seamounts on the high seas and a moratorium on deep-sea mining.

The deep sea is the largest biome (living space) on our planet. A healthy deep sea supports a rich web of life, locks away carbon for centuries, provides significant cultural value globally, and supports commercially important fish populations. However it is one of the most fragile environments on our planet, and increasingly faces threats from human activity.

In December, a historic biodiversity framework was agreed at CBD COP15 commiting governments to protect at least 30% of Earth’s surface, including the global ocean, by 2030. Sian Owen, the Coalition’s Director, who will be attending IMPAC5 said: “As the world charts a course to protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030, it is crucial that both existing and emerging industries that threaten our deep ocean are quickly and unequivocally rejected  and that we sustainably manage the remaining 70%.”

This week on 7th February, the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) 11th annual meeting also begins in Manta, Ecuador. The DSCC will be present, calling on State representatives to finish the job and support a phase-out of bottom trawling on seamounts. Bronwen Golder, the DSCC’S Global Seamounts Campaign Lead commented: “It is imperative that we preserve hotspots for life in our ocean, including underwater mountains or ‘seamounts’ and other vulnerable ecosystems in the deep sea. Governments must restrict activities that destroy and disturb vital ecosystems that support life on Earth.”

This year will also be a critical one in tackling the emerging threat of deep-sea mining as the International Seabed Authority (the intergovernmental body charged with regulating any deep-sea mining in the high seas) meets to intensively negotiate a framework that, if adopted, would signal the start of the largest mining operation in human history. The DSCC’S Deep-Sea Mining Campaign Lead, Sofia Tsenikli highlighted the opportunity for action on the issue at IMPAC5 commenting: “IMPAC5 presents world leaders with a unique opportunity to make a stand for our ocean and join the growing chorus of voices calling for a stop to a risky industry that the world does not need or want. Our leaders must urgently call for a moratorium – an official, global pause on deep-sea mining. Canada can lead the way as the host of IMPAC5 by supporting a global moratorium in both its national waters and in the high seas.”

ENDS

About the DSCC

The DSCC is made up of over 100 non-government organizations, fishers groups and law and policy institutes working together to protect vulnerable deep-sea ecosystems. We aim to substantially reduce the greatest threats to life in the deep sea and to safeguard the long-term health, integrity and resilience of deep-sea ecosystems.

Our main focus is on ensuring the sustainability of deep-sea fisheries and addressing the potential threat of deep-sea mining.

Contact us

Experts available for interview:

Sofia Tsenikli, sofia@savethehighseas.org

Bronwen Golder bronwen@savethehighseas.org

Sian Owen sian@savethehighseas.org
For media enquiries, please contact patricia@communicationsinc.co.uk

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