Unmasking the International Seabed Authority (ISA)

The International Seabed Authority (ISA) claims to safeguard the oceans from the destructive impact of deep sea mining. However, we cannot turn a blind eye to the troubling reality of its operations. The ISA’s ties with deep sea mining companies raise serious concerns about its ability to be an impartial regulator, prioritising profit over environmental preservation.

Greenpeace International activists from the Rainbow Warrior disturb a new deep sea mining impact test carried out by the company Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR) in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean. © Marten  van Dijl / Greenpeace

A Price Tag on Our Oceans

Disturbingly, each time a deep sea mining company applies for seabed exploration, the ISA receives a hefty fee of US$500,000. This monetary incentive casts doubt on the ISA’s commitment to protecting marine ecosystems and makes us question if it can truly stand up to mining industry interests.

The Unfathomable Exploitation

Over 1.5 million square kilometres of the ocean floor have been opened up for deep sea mining exploration by the ISA. This vast area, equivalent to four times the size of Germany, is now at risk of irreversible harm. And to make matters worse, the exploration contracts are primarily monopolised by a privileged few companies headquartered in the Global North, further deepening the inequality in accessing ocean resources.

A Dangerous Two-Year Loophole

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea allows for a two-year loophole that industry interests are shamelessly exploiting. With this loophole, they push governments to rush into approving deep sea mining operations before comprehensive regulations are in place. It’s an alarming race for profit, disregarding the potential ecological disaster that could unfold.

The Urgent Call for Action

Governments must not leave our oceans vulnerable to exploitation. Without a concrete plan, deep sea mining could gain a foothold, causing untold damage to marine life and habitats. It is high time for our governments to reclaim control of the ISA and reinstate its purpose as a genuine protector of the oceans.

At Greenpeace, we firmly believe that the survival of our planet depends on collective action to protect our oceans. Deep sea mining holds vast potential for environmental devastation, and we cannot stand idly by. We urge governments to act responsibly and prioritise the well-being of our oceans over short-term profit. Let us unite to safeguard our oceans for current and future generations, ensuring a sustainable and thriving planet for all. Together, we can make a difference.