From 29 May to 1 June 2023, the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, undertook a visit to Canada where he met with the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, and Mr. David Morrison, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

These meetings provided an opportunity for Secretary-General Lodge to update Canadian ministers and officials on the status of discussions in ISA including in relation to progress on the draft regulations for the exploitation of mineral resources in the international seabed area (the Area) and the provisions contained in it for ensuring the effective protection of the marine environment. Particular emphasis was placed on discussing precautionary and ecosystem-based approaches applied by ISA to the regulation and organization of activities in the Area as well as specific initiatives in support of the conservation of marine resources, the protection of the environment and the sustainable and equitable use of the Area and its resources for the benefit of humankind.

The Honourable Joyce Murray, Canada’s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard said: “Canada will continue working with ISA to ensure that any development of ocean resources is conducted in adherence to precautionary and ecosystem-based approaches, with a rigorous and comprehensive regulatory structure in place.”

The mandate assigned to ISA by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea for the stewardship of the Area and its resources was a key item of discussion as well as progress towards implementation of ISA’s Action Plan in support of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which represents a global agenda for deep-sea research to address strategic research priorities and inform decision-making for activities in the Area. Discussions explored opportunities for information-sharing and collaboration on marine science to advance work on the strategic research priorities.

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources stated: “The world’s oceans are vital to the health of our environment and our economy. We must ensure that any development of ocean resources is science-aligned and conducted in adherence to rigorous regulatory requirements. Canada looks forward to continued collaboration with ISA Member States and international partners to ensure the sustainable, responsible and equitable management of our oceans.”

The progress made towards the establishment of a mechanism for the equitable sharing of benefits was also discussed, with particular attention given to recent work by ISA in that field and the need to further advance conversations pertaining to the distribution of benefits derived from the exploitation of the non-living resources of the continental shelf pursuant to Article 82(4) of UNCLOS.

Mr. David Morrison, Canada’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that “Canada will continue to protect and preserve the international rule-based order and the integrity of the Convention on the Law of the Sea and will ensure that our approach to activities in the Area respects the delicate balance achieved in the Convention and in the 1994 implementing agreement on Part XI.”

Amongst areas of future cooperation identified were the activities of ISA to advance women empowerment and leadership in ocean affairs including through the Women in Deep-Sea Research (WIDSR) project, the work of ISA to advance deep-sea taxonomy for biodiversity conservation, and technology innovation and development.

Secretary-General Lodge said: “I acknowledge the strong support of Canada, as a maritime nation, for the legal regime embodied in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in general and for the work of the International Seabed Authority in particular. We appreciate very much Canada’s contribution to our work, especially in terms of technical and scientific expertise. I am particularly impressed by Canada’s steadfast commitment to inclusive and equitable management of natural resources and sustainable development. I look forward to continued collaboration with Canada on all aspects of the work of ISA.”

Canada has been a State Party to UNCLOS and, therefore, a Member of ISA since 2003. It is a Member of the ISA Council under Group C for 2021-2024 and is represented on the Finance Committee.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Ms. Stefanie Neno, Communications Specialist, ISA,