The Pew Charitable Trusts has submitted comments on a draft regional environmental management plan (REMP) for the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge issued for a stakeholder consultation by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the entity that regulates all mining-related activities on the ocean floor beyond national jurisdiction.
The deep sea is not one homogenous place; it contains an overwhelming diversity of habitats, species, and ecosystems that will respond differently if subjected to mining-related impacts. REMPs are a tool for implementing geographically targeted management measures in the form of regional management goals, thresholds for environmental effects, and protected areas. ISA members have insisted that seabed mining contracts should not be issued unless a REMP is in place for the targeted region.
The draft REMP for the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge captures important elements but should not be considered complete in the absence of more specific management measures than currently offered. Pew urges the ISA to use its comments along with other stakeholder feedback gathered during this process to inform substantial revisions to this REMP before permitting any mining to go forward.