Many Meetings

Dr Jesse van der Grient

Project Manager Jesse is part of the Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI), a network of scientists that joins international discussions on ecosystem-based ocean management. DOSI consists of several groups, and Jesse is one of the co-lead of the Minerals Working Group, where she joins discussions on deep-sea mining in international waters. The deep ocean (waters deeper than 200 m) is mysterious, because they are challenging to study, so there is a lot still that we do not know. We do know that the deep ocean does quite a lot for humans, including climate regulation, biogeochemical cycling, cultural services, fisheries support, innovative biomolecules and medicines, and non-living resources such as oil and gas, and minerals. These minerals come in different forms, such as in polymetallic nodules which are found on abyssal plains (4-6 km depth), hydrothermal (underwater volcanos) vent chimneys, and in crusts of seamounts (underwater mountains). A few people are interested in exploiting these resources, but because they might need to exploit very large areas, especially for the polymetallic nodules (1 contractor’s area would be larger than all terrestrial mines combined!), the effects on deep-sea ecosystems can be large and far ranging. In addition, the seafloor in international waters is special as they are the Common Heritage of Humankind, meaning that it is from everyone currently alive and future generations. Thus, for exploitation to start, fair and robust regulations that distribute profits equitably without causing disastrous environmental harm are necessary. 

In March, Jesse went to the International Seabed Authority (a United Nations body concerned with deep-sea mining in international waters) headquarters (in sunny Jamaica, viewed mostly from a cold conference room) for two weeks to discuss mining regulations on environmental protection, financial regimes, and compliance. Via interventions, meetings with delegates and participating in side-events, Jesse and the rest of the DOSI team brought the latest science to these discussions. DOSI also organised a side event where several scientists, including Jesse herself, gave a presentation. Jesse talked about the overlap between deep-sea mining areas and tuna fisheries, as tuna fisheries overlap with mining areas and can potentially be affected.

Jesse sits ready to deliver an intervention on behalf of DOSI
Jesse is presenting her science during an evening side event at the International Seabed Authority Council meeting
Jesse is talking to delegates from Germany and Fiji during the break
In addition, in May, Jesse participated in the meetings of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission to talk about this topic. Fisheries are a stakeholder in the deep-sea mining debate, but they are currently not participating in the discussions. As part of this event, it was a nudge to become part of this debate. Jesse, and the team with her that made this event possible, are pleased to see that the Commission has taken decisions to further explore ways to join these discussions.
Jesse is talking at the meeting of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission about the overlap between tuna fisheries and mining areas.
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