Over the past 50 years, marine resources in accessible ocean areas (above 200 meters) have declined due to overharvesting and habitat damage. Fisheries have expanded into deeper ocean regions beyond national control in search of new resources, drive by technological advancements. This often happens without proper science-based management plans. Such expansion has had disastrous consequences (e.g., orange roughy). Additionally, deep-ocean fishing has significantly impacted seamounts and cold-water coral habitats, as discussed in our Deep-Sea Fundamentals Policy Brief.
About the working group
The group aims to coordinate planning and advocate a precautionary approach to managing the deep ocean through international cooperation. They address key questions related to recovery from disturbance, studying impacts at the appropriate scale, applying Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) universally, identifying trends and knowledge gaps in deep-sea fisheries, distinguishing natural variability from human impacts, managing Marine Protected Area (MPA) expectations, monitoring, establishing management precedents, and linking with mining. Such efforts are critical as the demand for deep-ocean biological resources grows.
- We released a Policy Brief based on our Review of Impact Assessments for Deep-Sea Fisheries on the High Seas, offering recommendations for UN General Assembly negotiators.
- Our new Review of Impact Assessments for Deep-Sea Fisheries on the High Seas was well-received at the UN Bottom Fishing Workshop held in August of 2022, with many delegates recognizing its importance to future policy. You can read our participation report from the Workshop here.
- In August of 2022, we released a major Review of Impact Assessments for Deep-Sea Fisheries on the High Seas.
- Implementation of further WG sub-groups to address key themes:
- Demersal Fisheries and Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems – project underway, led by Amy Baco-Taylor (Florida State Uni) towards a Community Consensus on Designating Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems from Imagery (presented at Ocean Sciences Feb 2020)
- Mesopelagic fisheries – Potentially the largest unexploited resource left in the ocean. Identify and address knowledge gaps around how exploitation would affect biodiversity, food webs, and climate change. Watch Webinar 6 in the IUCN/DOSI series on the BBNJ treaty – Fishing in the Twilight Zone.
- Climate change – Deep-sea fish species and their habitats as carbon sinks.
- Adapt UNGA/RFMO approach to protecting vulnerable deep seabed ecosystems to ISA regulations on deep-sea mining regulations (underway)
- Link with BBNJ/Implementing agreement negotiations – conservation of biodiversity in ABNJ in relation to deep-sea fisheries
- Support deep sea implementation of SDG 14.2 “By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans”
- Answering important questions: Can DOSI facilitate Data Poor programs via RFMOs?
- Informing DOSI community and beyond on deep-sea fisheries issues