The second year of the project
built further on the success of the three cruises to the Clarion-Clipperton-Zone and the DISCOL experimental area in the Peru basin. Based on the trouble-free work on RV SONNE, including the 38 ROV dives and 37 AUV missions in more than 4000 m water depth, the scientists were able to collect more data and specimens than anticipated. Specifically, this resulted in unique material for the characterization of the deep-sea ecosystem in disturbed and undisturbed areas identifying small-scale micro-habitats. A few papers have already been published (e.g. Vanreusel et al.
(2016) and Purser et al
. (2016)) and at their meeting the consortium proposed collating the upcoming papers in a Special Issue.
The Annual Meeting showed as well that the project responds to the political and legal need of scientific knowledge for the deep-sea governance regime. As reported in the JPI Oceans Newsletter - July 2016, the project organized a side-event
during the annual meeting of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to present their results and inform the delegates about the scientists’ current deliberations on the ongoing discussions about the draft exploitation code. This exploitation code will be key in developing the regulatory framework for mineral exploitation in the international seabed area. In addition the project participated in discussions, workshops and events (European Maritime Day in Turku, UN World Ocean Day panel discussion in Berlin, EU parliament deep-sea mining panel discussion and Seas at Risk workshop in Brussels) to ensure its contribution to deep-sea governance based on the latest available scientific knowledge. Moreover, the topic of ecological impacts of deep-sea mining gathered high interest in the media in the context of the German Science Year of the Oceans.
Currently, the project partners are working on their contribution to the ISA workshop on an “Environmental Management Strategy for the Area” in the framework of the recently published ISA draft environmental regulations. The final project meeting is expected to take place in the fall of 2017 in London (tbc) and will be open for interested stakeholders.