GOBI releases report on opportunities for EBSAs in ABNJ

Report from the GOBI “EBSAs in ABNJ” expert workshop now available

Anticipating that area-based management tools in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) will likely play a crucial part in efforts to meet the marine element of Target 3 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (30% of the ocean protected by 2030), GOBI held an expert workshop on ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) in ABNJ in November 2022. The workshop took place at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, looking out over California’s iconic Monterey Bay where one of North America’s largest underwater canyons brings the deep ocean close to shore. 

View from Seymour Discovery Center over Monterey Bay, California. Image © D.Johnson

The final report of the workshop, published this week, summarises insights on potential opportunities and suggestions to strengthen and add to those EBSAs located in ABNJ that have already been described by the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Regional EBSA Workshops over the past decade. The report elaborates a series of science, governance and procedural challenges, together with reflections on EBSA utility – i.e., how effectively can these descriptions inform proposals for marine protected areas (MPAs) and/or other effective conservation measures (OECMs). 

The GOBI ‘EBSAs in ABNJ’ workshop participants, November 2022. Image © GOBI Secretariat

Over the coming months GOBI plans to develop several of the ideas generated by the workshop as we grapple with the prospect of implementing the UN’s new legally binding international agreement to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (aka the High Seas/BBNJ treaty), securing tangible biodiversity gains for the deep ocean by 2030.