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Deep-sea research

EMB recently published policy brief #2 "Delving Deeper: How can we achieve sustainable management of our deep sea through integrated research?", an 8-page summary of PP22. It will be launched at a briefing event on WG Deep Seas outputs during the 3rd Ocean of Tomorrow conference taking place Wednesday 11 November in Brussels. Please see the agenda of the full event here and register here.





Position Paper 22 "Delving Deeper: Critical challenges for 21st century deep-sea research" was launched on 1 September 2015 at an official side event of the Deep Sea Biology Symposium (DSBS). Please see the EMB news item for more information and the DSBS website for programme details.


WG DEEP-SEA Alex Rogers

The deep sea comprises the major habitable volume of Planet Earth. It holds a substantial repository of the biological diversity and geological resources on the planet. Deep-sea environments provide us with important goods and services that range from direct provisioning such as fish, chemical compounds for industrial and pharmaceutical uses, and mineral resources, to less directly identifiable services such as regulation of global biogeochemical cycles and nutrient cycling, which are crucial to the functioning of our planetary system. However, its 3D complexity, immense size and remoteness, coupled with the still relatively small effort in scientific research, means that the deep sea ecosystem remains poorly understood.

The European Marine Board has identified a strong need for a powerful vision based on an ecosystem approach, coupled with the precautionary approach, to support the goal of sustainable development and ocean health in the deep sea. Moreover, Europe should position itself as a front-runner in matching economic opportunities with best science and governance associated with the emerging exploitation of biological and mineral resources from the deep ocean, and other expected activities such as CO2 sequestration and deposition.

The European Marine Board WG Deep-Sea creates a platform for cross-sector, interdisciplinary dialogue between deep-sea stakeholders and will present expert recommendations for future deep-sea research in the context of societal challenges and policy needs.

Working Group Objectives

  • Enhance cross-sector, interdisciplinary dialogue and provide a platform for future partnerships on deep-sea activities between the scientific, industry and socio-economic communities.
  • Assess recent achievements in deep-sea research, current infrastructure and research capabilities and identify gaps and priorities (thematic and geographical) for future European research efforts (in the context of international efforts).
  • Define key societal opportunities in the deep-sea e.g. mining, biological resource extraction, CO2 sequestration etc and how deep-sea research can inform these activities with expert knowledge.
  • Define key recommendations for future European deep-sea research that can address of societal challenges and opportunities and can be taken up by policy makers to inform future research agendas at the European and national levels.
  • Propose mechanisms for how deep-sea research can contribute timely, informative knowledge to the policy making process to inform ocean stewardship and governance.
  • Provide rules and guidance for the application of ecosystem-based approaches towards ecological sustainability of the deep sea, with evaluation of impact assessment needs.

EMB WG Deep-Sea KoM2014 04 29 WG DEEP-SEAWGDeepSea 13Nov2014

Members: see the list here 


  • Kick-off meeting, 14-15 January 2014, Brussels (photo above, left)
  • Second meeting, 24-25 April, 2014, Oxford + External stakeholder event 1 (photo above, middle)
  • Wrap-up meeting, 13-14 November 2014, Lisbon + External stakeholder event 2 (photo above, right)

WG contact at European Marine Board Secretariat: Kate Larkin Email


EMB Position Paper launch

The Position Paper from the Working Group will be launched at an official side-event of the International Deep-Sea Biology Symposium 2015 on September 1 in Aveiro, Portugal. Please see the website for programme and registration details.

EMB stakeholder consultation on deep-sea investment

Thank you to everyone who submitted a response for the consultation, your input was much appreciated. We received 103 responses in total from 16 countries (14 European, 2 International). These included 83 from the marine research community (80 from individual researchers; 3 funding organizations) and 20 from industry.

The consultation is now closed, but please contact the EMB Secretariat (Email) if you have any further questions or comments regarding deep-sea activities and investment.

EMB WG Deep seas Chair presents draft recommendations at EurOCEAN 2014

On 8 October 2014, WG Chair Prof. Alex Rogers presented at EurOCEAN 2014 on the subject 'What the blue growth agenda means for deep sea research'. This included reference to current work and recommendations from the EMB WG, including a summary of the deep-sea investment study conducted in summer 2014.

European Commission consultation on seabed mining

In June 2014, EMB submitted a response to the EC DG MARE Consultation on Seabed Mining.  DG MARE have released a complete set of replies