Strategies for optimal governance of the deep sea

Given that such a large portion of deep-sea environments falls in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ), where laws regarding access to marine resources are not well-specified, a new international policy is needed for seabed resource management. The United Nations is currently seeking to develop such a policy. In this Policy Forum, R. Danovaro and colleagues propose strategies for ensuring such a policy addresses an array of concerns – input that could make a useful contribution to the ongoing UN negotiations. Devising a new policy will require deep knowledge of a wide variety of ecological and biological variables, write R. Danovaro and colleagues, in part so as to better identify marine protected areas. The process could be improved if relevant industries pooled resources to invest in subsea infrastructure and technologies enabling acquisition of biological data. The authors highlight the importance of integrating inputs from research institutions, academia, industries, and nongovernmental organizations, on the road to a new international agreement, and of coordinating research resources and technologies across nations, to address basin-wide gaps in oceanic understanding.

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