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Open Access Publications from the University of California

EEZ Seeps: Exploration, Exploitation, and Conservation

  • Author(s): Krach, Monika
  • et al.

Growing exploitation of the deep sea warrants an economic and political analysis of cold seep resources in the United States Pacific Exclusive Economic Zone. Methane seeps are currently being explored for utilization by the energy industry, fisheries, and bioprospecting programs. This paper examines these direct human uses of chemosynthetic communities, addresses their costs, and explores both current US policies and potential policies for management and conservation. To date, policies concerning the EEZ have been sector-specific and authority split between various agencies. The US needs a comprehensive framework with a focus on collaboration between agencies and should include the protection of benthic features like hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. In the interim, various strategies can be implemented to manage chemosynthetic communities in the EEZ.

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