The Pew Charitable Trusts submitted comments on a set of seven draft standards and guidelines issued by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the entity that regulates all mining-related activities on the ocean floor beyond national jurisdiction. The ISA’s draft documents cover issues such as environmental impact assessments and emergency response plans and are aimed at creating consistency in mining operations and safeguarding the marine environment.
The ISA will use these standards and guidelines—and others that are expected to follow—to ensure that seabed miners comply with ISA regulations governing the exploitation of deep-sea minerals. These regulations are still under deliberation, however, making it difficult to see the full picture of how these subsidiary documents will fit into the broader regulatory framework. Pew urges the ISA to develop its draft regulations before creating additional standards and guidelines and to use stakeholder feedback gathered during this process to inform revision of the regulations.