Podcast: who's in charge of the deep sea?

Catherine Blanchard in NRC podcast

Octopus in the the deep sea bed
The Ka‘ena Ridge ‘Casper’ octopod, mantle length 6.5 cm, utilising a nook in a pillow basalt. Source: JASON 2 ROV TEAM, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The NRC podcast Vandaag dedicated an episode to deep-sea mining, and Catherine Blanchard shared some insights about the regulatory and governance framework that underpins this activity.

The imminent start of deep-sea mineral exploitation activities, combined with the finalization of the text of the Agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement) under the auspices of the UN less than 2 weeks ago, has recently triggered a lot of attention and raised awareness around the management of resources at sea.

The podcast episode first discusses the nature of ecosystems in the deep-sea and the current state of scientific knowledge surrounding such ecosystems. It then presents recent developments related to deep-sea mineral exploration and (soon to be) exploitation activities, and addresses the current status of the international negotiations of the Mining Code, the set of rules and procedures to regulate mineral-related activities of the deep seabed. Catherine presents the fundamental principle of the ‘common heritage of humankind’ that underpins the regulatory regime for the deep seabed and its resources, as well as the role of the International Seabed Authority, the international organization mandated to regulate and manage deep-sea mineral related activity and to ensure that such activities do not cause harm to the marine environment.

You can hear Catherine Blanchard talking, starting from 13'05 in the epiosde. You can listen to the entire podcast episode (in Dutch) here (and on Spotify and Apple podcasts and the NRC app):

Diepzeemijnbouw: wie is de baas over de oceaan? - NRC

The podcast episode takes part in a series of news coverage on deep-sea mining by NRC and builds on a news article published earlier this year (in Dutch): Octopus ‘Casper’ is het gezicht van de strijd om de diepzee - NRC