Increasing Pressure at the Bottom of the Ocean
Invisibly hidden under the waters, the deep sea has been considered to be the least affected habitat on Earth by human use. However, recently, the perception of the damage and its extent are coming to light.
The ocean is recognisably under threat due to a number of direct human activities, of which fishing industry and pollution are of major concern. Other emergent economic activities such as mining, the extraction of oil and gas, and the sequestration of CO2, should be evaluated beforehand to take into account the forecasting and mitigation of possible impacts.
These human activities migrated to the deep-sea, fisheries and waste deposit first, followed by oil and mineral exploitation. This is reflected in the growing number of species and habitats requiring conservation actions and the need for new management instruments for the deep ocean. In particular one has to take into consideration that the majority of these habitats and associated species are located on the high seas where the capacity for intervention and the legal basis either do not exist or may fall far short of what is needed (Probert et al., Seamounts: ecology, fisheries and conservation, 2007).
KeywordsMethane Hydrate Abyssal Plain Manganese Nodule Deepwater Horizon Orange Roughy
RSS acknowledges Ângela Mendonca (chair of the 2nd International School Congress on “Natural Resources, Sustainability and Humanity”) for invitation to participate and present two lectures at the 2nd International School Congress in Braga and Maria José Marques and Ana Cunha for editorial comments and improvements. Iva Flores helped with revision of the English.
We acknowledge the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT-Lisbon) and the Regional Azorean Directorate for Science, Technology and Communications (DRCTC-Azores), for funding of IMAR/DOP/UAz Research Unit #531, CREMINER FCUL and the Associated Laboratory LARSyS.
This paper contributes to HERMIONE (grant agreement no. 226354) and to CoralFish (grant agreement no. 213144) projects funded by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013).
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