Sunday, 16 February 2014: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Columbus EF (Hyatt Regency Chicago)The deep ocean is an area of accelerating economic interest, as well as a provider of key ecosystem functions and services. Increasing global demand for fuel and seafood has led to industrial extraction deeper and further offshore than ever before. As land-based economic options diminish, there is renewed and growing interest worldwide in extracting precious metals, methane gas, and rare minerals. Leases to explore for and potentially extract seabed minerals are being granted for hydrothermal vents, seamount crusts, and manganese nodule fields in the deep seafloor of the Western Pacific and in the international seabed area managed by the International Seabed Authority. The seafloor has long been a receptacle for terrestrial debris, waste and mine tailings. But now deep waters are warming, acidity is increasing, and in some regions oxygen is declining, compromising key provisioning and regulatory services as well as resilience of deep ecosystems. There is a growing imperative to manage the deep sea from a multi-sectorial and cross-disciplinary perspective, to safeguard the marine environment while enabling sustainable use. This session examines the innovations needed to manage the deep sea: approaches to minimize harm, allow observations, and facilitate scientific discovery; novel economic, legal, and policy tools; new enforcement mechanisms that are legal and technological; and the capacity building needed to raise awareness and provide environmental justice globally.
Lisa Levin, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Kristina Gjerde, International Union for Conservation of Nature