In a recent statement, Canada announced its intention not to permit seabed mining in areas under its jurisdiction without a rigorous regulatory structure.
Highlighting the importance of the protection and conservation of the global ocean, Canada committed to continue to lead global and national efforts toward enhancing the protection and restoration of vulnerable marine ecosystems and wildlife, including through active international engagement to improve oceans governance.
Canada remains committed to increasing the conservation of our oceans to 25 per cent by 2025, working toward 30 per cent by 2030, having already increased the amount of protected marine and coastal areas from less than one per cent in 2015 to more than 14 per cent now.
Specifically, the statement reads as follows:
”Canada does not presently have a domestic legal framework that would permit seabed mining and, in the absence of a rigorous regulatory structure, will not authorize seabed mining in areas under its jurisdiction. Due diligence, as well as precautionary and ecosystem-based approaches, must be exercised with respect to decision-making regarding seabed mineral activity and governance.
A robust knowledge base on ocean environments and the understanding of potential impacts from seabed mining operations is critical to ensure that any decision is informed by science and is made for the effective protection of marine ecosystems, taking into account environmental, economic, and social effects.
Indigenous Peoples, industry, provinces and territories, and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, must also have the opportunity to be engaged on Canada’s seabed mineral governance.”
With regards to seabed mining in areas beyond national jurisdiction, the Government of Canada has not taken part in the exploration of such areas.
The statement also highlighted the following aspects:
”Canada believes that knowledge of the deep sea marine environment and of potential impacts of deep-sea mining is critical for any decision to authorize any seabed mining. Such operations must comply with robust environmental standards and be able to demonstrate that the environment is not seriously harmed as determined according to the rules, regulations, and procedures adopted by the International Seabed Authority on the basis of internationally recognized standards and practices.
Seabed mining should only take place if effective protection of the marine environment is provided through a rigorous regulatory structure, applying precautionary and ecosystem-based approaches, using science-based and transparent management, and ensuring effective compliance with a robust inspection mechanism.
Canada will continue to uphold the principles, rights, duties, and obligations in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and negotiate in good faith on regulations to ensure that seabed activities do no harm to the marine environment and are carried out solely for the benefit of humankind as a whole.”
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