ISA – International Seabed Authority

The ISA, or the International Seabed Authority, is an independent international organization created under UNCLOS (see definition). They oversee the organization and control of activities in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ – see definition). They have granted 28 contracts for mineral exploration in the deep-sea, 18 of which have been granted in the last 4 years. These contracts encompass approximately 1 million km2 in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is operating with the dual mandate of promoting the development of the deep-sea bed whilst ensuring that this development is not harmful to the environment. This challenging and conflicting dual mandate will require improved oversight by the international community to make sure that the broader interests and welfare of the oceans are adequately addressed.”