A Call for Deep-Ocean Stewardship
Covering more than half the planet, the deep ocean sequesters atmospheric CO2 and recycles major nutrients; is predicted to hold millions of yet-to-be-described species; and stores mind-boggling quantities of untapped energy resources, precious metals, and minerals (1). It is an immense, remote biome, critical to the health of the planet and human well-being. The deep ocean (defined here as below a typical continental shelf break, >200 m) faces mounting challenges as technological advances—including robotics, imaging, and structural engineering—greatly improve access. We recommend a move from a frontier mentality of exploitation and single-sector management to a precautionary system that balances use of living marine resources, energy, and minerals from the deep ocean with maintenance of a productive and healthy marine environment, while improving knowledge and collaboration.
Kathryn J. Mengerink, Cindy L. Van Dover, Jeff Ardron, Maria Baker, Elva Escobar-Briones, Kristina Gjerde, J. Anthony Koslow, Eva Ramirez-Llodra, Ana Lara-Lopez, Dale Squires, Tracey Sutton, Andrew K. Sweetman, and Lisa A. Levin. 2014. A Call for Deep-Ocean Stewardship .Science , (6185) : 696 -698. http://nsuworks.nova.edu/occ_facarticles/176.