This horizon scan, reviews the historic trends, current status and future projections of three key pressures on biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The three pressures are:
Physical loss and damage to the seabed;
Removal of biological resources; and
A number of activities contribute to each of these pressures, including bio-prospecting and marine scientific research, submarine cable laying, deep sea mining, energy facilities and fishing. The role of each of these activities in the generation of pressures on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction is evaluated through a review of the peer-reviewed and grey literatures. The results show that some marine activities are not yet underway and therefore have no current implications (such as deep sea mining), but that they are predicted to generate implications in the future. In contrast, other marine activities are already underway in areas beyond national jurisdiction (such as fishing) and the impacts on the seabed and to biological resources are potentially significant. The differing temporal and spatial scales of the activities make them difficult to compare on a single assessment framework, however, it is clear that all of the activities and pressures are increasing in spatial footprint and intensity. Across all activities, regulators, industry bodies and individual companies are seeking to find ways to protect the marine environment while maintaining opportunities to exploit marine resources.