The depths of the deep sea teem with an astounding array of fish, corals, and enigmatic fauna—hundreds of thousands of species live in these areas.
Many deep-sea organisms are extremely slow-growing; if damaged, they may take centuries to recover, if they come back at all. And researchers have only discovered a small proportion of species; filling the gaps in our knowledge could take decades.
However, mineral deposits on the deep seabed have gained the attention of governments and corporate entities wishing to mine these areas. The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is the intergovernmental organization that regulates all mineral activities in areas beyond the jurisdiction of any country. As the ISA continues to negotiate regulations that will govern any future mining activity, it is critical that decision-making processes are based on sound scientific evidence and that the organization ensure the marine environment will be protected. Below are some of the scientific studies that The Pew Charitable Trusts has undertaken or supported to help inform this process.