Foraminifera attached to polymetallic nodule from the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone, Pacific. Image courtesy of Craig Smith, University of Hawaii, USA

The Issue: Deep-sea mining is rapidly approaching the commercial mining phase in multiple oceans, both in areas within and beyond national jurisdiction. We urgently need to identify and develop comprehensive, ecosystem-based management practices for deep-ocean environments subject to mineral extraction. Transparent criteria for deep-sea institutional and corporate social responsibility also need to be established.
Proactive development of management practices, frameworks and policy prior to the onset of commercial mining will ensure protection and preservation of the marine environment, whilst enabling the use of seabed mineral resources.

The Working Group: The DOSI Minerals working group (175 members) constitutes a broad spectrum of scientific, industry, conservation, legal and policy expertise. As collated working group responses and as individuals, we provide expert opinion on deep-sea mining related concerns through written responses, side-events, interventions, workshops and symposia.

Current Activities:

  • The ISA is inviting comments on the latest iteration of the Draft Exploitation Regulations, which can be found here: As usual, DOSI will be compiling comments.  The DOSI deadline for compilation will be Monday 16th September 2019.
  • DOSI is committed to actively participate in the proceedings of the ISA, as well as to ensure our strong representation in various workshops on the environmental planning and management of the Area. There a number of upcoming deep-sea mining workshops and meetings, which we many the DOSI Minerals working group will attend:
    • Deep CCZ Biodiversity Synthesis Workshop – Washington, USA – 1-4 October 2019
      Calls for nominations of experts to attend and relevant scientific information have now closed, however a number of DOSI Minerals WG members will be present.
    • Scientific Considerations for Environmental Management of Inactive Polymetallic Sulfide (PMS) Ecosystems – Galway, Ireland – 22-24 October 2019. Attendee list now closed. DOSI to attend. 
    • Workshop on Strategic Approaches to Developing Regional Environmental Management Plans – Hamburg, Germany – 11-13 November 2019
    • International Conference on Legal, Scientific and Economic Aspects of Deep Seabed Mining – Kingston, Jamaica – 14-16 November 2019. Registration will open in August 2019. For more information, contact Katie Elles (
    • Workshop on the Regional Environmental Management Plan for the Area of the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge – Evora, Portugal – 25-29 November 2019 Calls for nominations of experts to attend is open until 31 August, and scientific information until 30 September.
    • Workshop on Marine Scientific Research in the Area: Establishing Collaborative Platform for Improving Biodiversity Knowledge to Support Environmental Management in Mid-Ocean Ridge Ecosystems – Hong Kong, China – 18-20 December 2019
    • Workshop on developing a REMP for the NW Pacific Cobalt-Crust Area – Korea – February 2020
    • First Part of 26th Session of the ISA – Kingston, Jamaica – Likely 17-28 February 2020
    • Workshop on developing a REMP for the Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge – Russia – June 2020
    • Second Part of 26th Session of the ISA – Kingston, Jamaica – Likely 13-31 July 2020
    • Workshop on developing a REMP for the Indian Ocean – India – Q3, 2020
  • Further exploration of working directly with country delegates at the ISA – ISA regulations will be applicable as a minimum to member states within their own jurisdictional waters.
  • DOSI Deep-Sea Mining Library: with the generous help of Daniëlle de Jonge, the deep-sea stakeholders now have a comprehensive library on a variety of aspects of deep-sea mining. Please contact us with any new additions or suggestions. Link. Short manual for using the DOSI Zotero use here.

Past Activities (in reverse chronological order):

  • July 2019: DOSI delegation attended the ISA 25th Session, presenting two new policy briefs and contributing to a scientific side event.  Policy briefs: Diving deep into biodiversityClimate Change Considerations are Fundamental to Sustainable Management of Deep-Seabed Mining. 

    DOSI Delegation to ISA July 2019

  • Early career scientists Maila Guilhon (Brazil) and Sergio Cambronero (Costa Rica) were also welcomed as part of the DOSI delegation.
  • June 2019: Climate change and deep seabed mining workshop, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA (June 2019) contributed to climate change and mining policy brief.
  • May 2019: DOSI Minerals WG members submitted a Commentary on the Draft High Level Action Plan and Priorities and the Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the Strategic Plan for the International Seabed Authority: Draft Performance Indicators for the 2019-2023 Period issued earlier this year. The list of the contributors is presented at the end of the document.

Early career scientists Maila Guilhon (Brazil) and Sergio Cambronero (Costa Rica) representing DOSI at ISA

  • February 2019: A DOSI delegation attended ISA 25th Session and delivered a well-attended side-event entitled: New scientific knowledge to guide the environmental management and regulatory framework for deep-sea mining. DOSI also made 4 interventions during the session. The DOSI observer team was Jeff Drazden, Aline Jaeckel, Verena Tunnicliffe, Philip Turner, Jessie Perelman and Diva Amon.
  • February 2019: DOSI WG member paper: Tunnicliffe et al (2019) Strategic Environmental Goals and Objectives: Setting the basis for environmental regulation of deep seabed mining. Marine Policy
  • October/November 2018: DOSI Minerals WG representatives attended the following meetings: Blue Economy conference, Nairobi – Oct 2018, COP CBD, Egypt – Nov 2018, IASS Workshop, Postdam – Nov 2018
  • September 2018: DOSI Minerals WG Comment on ISA Draft Exploitation Regulations September 2018Link to ISA document
  • August 2018: DOSI Participation in “Pelagic Effects of Deep-sea mining” workshop at Univ. Hawai’i (Aug 27-30. 2018)
  • August 2018: DOSI report and associated Brief as requested by Pew Charitable Trusts and distributed during 24th ISA Annual Session.
  • July 2018: DOSI side-event during 24th ISA Session.  Wednesday 18 July 2018.  DOSI Side Event Flyer ISA Jul 2018.  DOSI made 6 Interventions during the Council Session.  DOSI produced a policy brief entitled Taxonomic knowledge of the Clarion Clipperton Fracture Zone.

DOSI Delegation ISA 24th Session, July 2018

  • April 2018: DOSI Minerals WG sub-group submitted commentary to ISA on their DRAFT Strategic Plan (ISBA/23/A/13), April 2018. Comments from DOSI.
  • March 2018: DOSI attendance as observers during the 24th ISA Session, March 5-9 2018.

DOSI Observers during 24th Session, March 2018. Photo by IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon

  • DOSI attendance at workshop on draft exploitation regulations: policy, legal and institutional considerations in advance of the March ISA council session.  12-13 Feb 2018, The Royal Society, London.  Convened by UK FCO and ISA.  Report to follow.
  • DOSI response to ISA stakeholder request for input to Draft Regulations on Exploitation of Mineral Resources in the Area. Link to document. DOSI Comments. Other scientist communications pertaining to seabed mining..
  • DOSI represented at the JPI Oceans “Ecological aspects of deep-sea mining” meeting (Oct 2017). Report.
  • DOSI invited to attend ISA Workshop on the Design and Monitoring of Impact  Reference Zones and Preservation Reference Zones, Berlin (27-29 Sept 2017). DOSI Report.
  • DOSI represented and poster presented (Lenaick Menot) at the Underwater Mining Institute annual meeting, Berlin (Sept 2017)
  • DOSI sponsored a side-event at the 23rd Annual Session of the ISA that was attended by 140 Delegates, Contractors, Observers and staff.  Kristina Gjerde introduced presentations by Lisa Levin, Verena Tunnicliffe and Judith Gobin; Amber Cobley and Torsten Thiele aided coordination. Kingston, Jamaica (10 Aug 2017).
  • DOSI was represented by WG member, Hannah Lily (Commonwealth Secretariat, London) during the Deep-Sea Mining Summit, London, UK (May 2017).
  • DOSI Minerals WG produced an opinion piece for The Environmental Forum of the Environmental Law Institute (May 2017) – Link to article.
  • DOSI representatives presented our EREGS work at a workshop: Towards an ISA Environmental Management Strategy for the Area, jointly organized by the German Environment Agency (UBA), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) and the ISA and supported by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam (IASS). Berlin, Germany (March 2017) – Link to synopsis.
  • The Discussion Paper on the Draft Regulations for Mineral Resources in the Area (Environmental Matters) can be found on the ISA website.  Members of the Minerals WG met for the EREGS workshop to examine the documents. San Diego, USA (January 2017). The workshop participants produced a Letter to the ISA and a Synopsis  – Link to letterLink to synopsis.
  • DOSI response to ISA draft exploitation regulations (ISBA/Cons/2016/1) (October 2016) – Link to review.
  • DOSI response to ISA review (Article 154 UNCLOS) (October 2016) – Link to review.
  • DOSI publication: Levin et al. (2016) Defining “Serious Harm” to the Marine Environment in the Context of Deep-Seabed Mining. Marine Policy, pp. 245-259 (October 2016) – Link to paper.
  • Workshop on Enhancing Stakeholder Participation and Transparency in the ISA Process. Ocho Rios, Jamaica (July 2016) – Link to report.
  • DOSI awarded Observer Status at the International Seabed Authority. Kingston, Jamaica (July 2016) – Link to blog.
  • DOSI members contribute to Griffith Law School and the International Seabed Authority Workshop on Environmental Assessment and Management for Exploitation of Minerals in the Area. Queensland, Australia (May 2016) – Link to report.
  • DOSI response to the International Seabed Authority document: “Developing a Regulatory Framework for Mineral Exploitation in the Area – a draft framework”. Report to stakeholders (ISBA/Cons/2015/1) (May 2015) – Link to review.
  • DOSI Minerals WG Past Activities Listing.