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Sharing and Preserving the Resources in the Deep Sea: Challenges for the International Seabed Authority

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The development of mineral resources in the deep sea can potentially generate significant economic returns, but also raises governance challenges. The International Seabed Authority (ISA) wrestles with a wide range of issues and complex interactions that may affect not only how the industry develops over time, but also how development will benefit mankind. Two key issues they face are the means for sharing the payments from deep sea mining (DSM), and protecting environmental resources in the deep sea from harmful effects. This article provides an overview of issues for deciding among alternative means of distributing the ISA’s share of monetary returns that will be realized as deep sea mineral resources, how they are converted from natural assets into financial assets, and alternative approaches to ensure that exploitation of these resources does not come at the expense of mankind also benefiting from the environmental resources provided by the deep sea.


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