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World Hydrography Day is celebrated every year on 21 June to highlight the importance of hydrography and its relevance to current global challenges. On this occasion, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) reiterates its commitment to contributing to advance the general knowledge and understanding of the world’s ocean and, in particular, the deep sea and the deep seabed.
As the world strives to map the entire seabed area of the planet, ISA has been working with its 22 exploration contractors and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) to develop the necessary protocols to provide high-resolution bathymetric data collected by contractors as a contribution towards the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 project, which aims to produce a definitive map of the world’s seabed by 2030.
Over the past several decades, ISA contractors have explored patches of the international seabed area (the Area) and collected vast amounts of bathymetric data. As of today, and as part of a pilot initiative facilitated by ISA, three of them have supplied data to the Seabed 2030 project.
The Interoceanmetal Joint Organization (IOM) provided data collected from 1992 to 2001 in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific Ocean; Japan's Deep Ocean Resources Development Co. Ltd. (DORD) provided data for areas of particular environmental interest (APEIs), also in the CCZ and Germany's Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) provided data for a total of 170,000 km² of seabed in the CCZ and along the Indian Ocean ridges. Other contractors are also in the process of finalizing their contributions.
“I had the honour to participate in the first Assembly of IHO in 2017 on behalf of the International Seabed Authority, and to sign an agreement of cooperation between ISA and IHO,” said ISA Secretary-general Mr. Michael W. Lodge in his statement on the occasion of World Hydrography Day and the 100th Anniversary of the International Hydrographic Organization. “Since then, our cooperation has grown stronger with each passing year. This is not surprising, as both IHO and ISA have a shared mandate and shared commitment to increase scientific understanding of the ocean and to make ocean data publicly available.”
The strong partnership that exists between ISA and IHO, which was formalized through an agreement of cooperation signed during the twenty-second session of ISA in 2017, is a testament to the efforts of the international community to advance the mapping of the seabed, including beyond national jurisdictions. About 22% of the world’s seabed has been mapped so far. More efforts are needed, and ISA stands ready to help strengthen our scientific understanding of the ocean for the benefit of all humanity.
Happy World Hydrography Day 2021 and happy 100th Anniversary to IHO!
The written version of the Secretary-General's Statement is accessible here: Secretary-General Statement - World Hydrography Day.