Exploring Deep Sea Resources | JPI OCEANS

Exploring Deep Sea Resources

It is becoming more feasible to exploit deep-sea resources as a result of technological developments and economic conditions.

Rationale

Deep-sea ecosystems are some of the most fragile and little understood on Earth. As a result, the knowledge needed to ensure a sustainable exploration and exploitation and to build appropriate policy frameworks is scarce. In particular, only limited areas of the seafloor have been mapped at a resolution sufficient to undertake meaningful resource assessments or exploration scenarios.

A coherent and long-term research effort is needed to support evidence based governance of the deep-sea biological, mineral and energy resources. This should also include scientific input to technological developments to ensure sustainable exploration and exploitation (see also Strategic Area 2: Technology and Sensors Development).

Activities

  • Coordinate efforts to undertake a high resolution, multi-beam survey and habitat distribution and develop fit for purpose equipment for the deep-sea.
  • The mapping effort will be combined with research on deep-sea ecosystems and habitats. This will develop a better understanding of the impacts of exploitation of deep-sea resources and provide guidance for environmental impact assessments.

Timescale

Short term
  • To establish a framework towards seabed and habitat mapping; combining mapping of geology, resources and biodiversity, defining a geographic scope, identifying integrated study sites to focus relevant data collection as well as relevant infrastructures and their limitations.
  • Build on outcome of JPI Oceans’ Pilot Action on deep-sea mining, strengthen research through joint activities, which also address the use of models and combine with foresight studies.
Long term
  • Create a reference map of the deep-sea through international collaboration, designed for scientists, policy makers, industry, and society.
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