Mining questions of ‘what’ and ‘who’: deepening discussions of the seabed for future policy and governance

Marta Conde*, Aletta Mondré, Kimberley Peters, Philip Steinberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In spite of a proliferation of academic and policy-oriented interest in deep sea mining (DSM), this paper argues that two underlying questions remain underexplored. The first relates to what exactly the seabed is; the second to who the stakeholders are. It is argued that a greater interrogation of how the seabed is defined and understood, and a deeper consideration of how stakeholders are identified and the politics of their inclusion, is crucial to the enactment of policy and planning techniques. Through the analysis of current regulations to govern DSM in both national and international jurisdictions, this paper critically examines these seemingly banal but vital questions in different contexts. It is contended that most regulations are ‘fuzzy’ when it comes to addressing these questions, with the result that different understandings of the seabed and the implications of mining are ignored and that who stakeholders are and how they are defined causes many relevant voices to be unheard. It is argued, therefore, that it is imperative to address these often-overlooked questions directly in order to inform future seabed policy and governance.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalMaritime Studies
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2022


  • Deep sea mining (DSM)
  • Governance
  • Ontological questions
  • Participation
  • Policy
  • Seabed
  • Stakeholder
  • LAND
  • AREA


Dive into the research topics of 'Mining questions of ‘what’ and ‘who’: deepening discussions of the seabed for future policy and governance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this