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A Call for Deep-Ocean Stewardship
- Mengerink, Kathryn J., Van Dover, Cindy L., Ardron, Jeff, Baker, Maria, Escobar-Briones, Elva, Gjerde, Kristina, Koslow, J. Anthony, Ramirez-Llodra, Eva, Lara-Lopez, Ana, Squires, Dale, Sutton, Tracey, Sweetman, Andrew K., Levin, Lisa A.
- Science 2014 v.344 no.6185 pp. 696-698
- carbon dioxide, continental shelf, ecosystems, energy, energy resources, humans, image analysis, marine environment, marine resources, metals, minerals, nutrients, robots
- Covering more than half the planet, the deep ocean sequesters atmospheric CO ₂ 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.