There is increasing awareness that future deep-sea mining might have adverse impacts on sensitive and so far often little studied ecosystems. At present, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which is the international regulator for seabed mining, requires contractors engaged in mineral exploration to establish geological and environmental baselines for their respective contract areas. However, there are no criteria for evaluating what a robust baseline entails. The paper seeks to address this gap by not only analysing the role and importance of baselines for environmental management but also suggesting criteria for evaluating the quality of baselines.
Deep-sea mining and the consequences for the environment