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ABNJsee 'Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction'
Abyssal PlainThe more or less flat region of the deep ocean floor below 4000 m, excluding ocean trenches, formed by deposition of pelagic sediments and turbidity currents that obscure the pre-existing topography.
AMOCsee 'Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation'
AnthropogenicCaused or produced by human activities
AreaThe seabed and the ocean floor and subsoil thereof beyond 200 nm from the baseline and/or respective outer limits of the continental shelf (up to 350 nm from shore).
Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ)Ocean waters beyond the limits of national jurisdiction more than 200 nautical miles (nm) from the baseline (= High Seas). The seabed and the ocean floor and subsoil thereof beyond 200 nm from the baseline and/or respective outer limits of the continental shelf (= 'the Area').
ASCOBANSAgreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North-East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas
Atlantic Meridional Overturning CirculationIt is a key player in the Earth's climate as it carries warm upper waters into far-northern latitudes and returns cold deep waters southward across the Equator. Its heat transport makes a substantial contribution to the moderate climate of maritime and continental Europe.

Ballast Water Management (BWM) ConventionGlobal Convention adopted under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2004, aiming to prevent the introduction of invasive (alien) species via the exchange of ships’ ballast water by treating it. The Convention is not in force yet but interim guidelines are. 
BaselineThe baseline is the boundary from which a nation may begin measurements to determine the portion of the adjacent oceans or continental shelf over which it may exercise sovereignty. Except in some special cases the baseline is the low water line along the coast.
BATsee 'Best Available Techniques'
BenthopelagicSpecial zone associated with the seafloor and the 200 m of water above it
BenthosOrganisms attached to, living on, or in the seabed
BEPsee 'Best Environmental Practice'
Best Available Techniques (BAT)The latest stage of development (state of the art) of processes, facilities or methods of operation which indicate the practical suitability of a particular measure for limiting discharges, emissions and waste.
Best Environmental Practice (BEP)The application of the most appropriate combination of environmental control measures and strategies.
Biogenic HabitatAre created by plants or animals and offer space for attachment, hiding places from predators, and shelter from harsh environmental conditions.
Biological DiversityVariability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.
BirdLifeA global partnership of more than 100 conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources.
Birds DirectiveThe EC Directive on the conservation of wild birds (1979) is the EU's oldest piece of nature conservation legislation, obliging Member States to protect birds by, inter alia, establishing Special Protection Areas (SPAs).
Bonn ConventionAlso known as the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range.


CBDsee 'Convention on Biological Diversity'
CBD COPsee 'Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties'
CCAMLRsee 'Commission of the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources'
Census of Marine Life (CoML)A 10-year international effort undertaken to assess the diversity (how many different kinds), distribution (where they live), and abundance (how many) of marine life—a task never before attempted on this scale. The census stimulated the discipline of marine science by tackling these issues globally, and engaging some 2,700 scientists from around the globe, who participated in 540 expeditions and countless hours of land-based research and described about 6,000 new marine species.
Charlie-Gibbs Fracture ZoneAn enormous geological fault formed by the geological forces that pull the American and African continental plates apart. It lies in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the middle of the northern Atlantic ocean, and cuts for 2000 km straight across the ridge between the northern tip of Newfoundland and the southern tip of Ireland. Its two parallel valleys and ridges provide a rich mix of deep sea habitats ranging from 700 m to 4500 m depth and support a wide array of life forms.
CGFZsee 'Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone'
CLCSsee 'Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf'
Commission of the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)Manages the marine living resources, excluding seals and whales in and near Antarctica
Commission on the Limits of the Continental ShelfFacilitates the implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in respect of the establishment of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines. According to UNCLOS, a coastal State shall establish the outer limits of its continental shelf where it extends beyond 200 nm on the basis of the recommendation of the Commission. It then exerts sovereign rights over the seafloor and its resources while the water column and its resources remain international waters (High Seas). In the North-East Atlantic, all coastal States with a continental margin have made respective submissions to the UN CLCS.
Continental ShelfThe shallowest part of the continental margin between the shoreline and the continental slope; not usually deeper than 200 m
Continental SlopeThe steeply sloping seabed from the outer edge of the continental shelf to the continental rise
Contracting PartiesThe Contracting Parties to the OSPAR Convention are the OSPAR countries Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, as well as the European Community.
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)An international legally binding treaty that has the goal to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity
Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties (CBD COP)The governing body of the Convention on Biological Diversity. It advances implementation of the Convention through the decisions it takes at its biennial meetings.
Coordinated Environmental Monitoring Programme (CEMP)That part of the monitoring under the OSPAR Joint Assessment and Monitoring Programme where the national contributions overlap and are coordinated by the use of commonly agreed monitoring guidelines, quality assurance procedures and assessment tools.
COPsee 'Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties'

Deep Scattering Layer (DSL)Horizontal zone of living organisms, usually schools of fish, occurring below the surface in many ocean areas, so called because the layer scatters or reflects sound waves, causing echoes in depth sounders. It can be seen to rise and fall each day in keeping with diel vertical migration.
Demersal FishFish that range and feed on or near the bottom of the sea.
DiatomsCommon type of unicellular phytoplankton with a silicate cell wall. The ratio of diatoms to flagellates in phytoplankton communities is used as an indicator of eutrophication.

EBSAsee 'Ecologically or Biologically Significant Area'
Ecologically or Biologically Significant Area (EBSA)At the 9th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2008 in Bonn, Germany, the Parties adopted a set of seven scientific criteria to identify ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSAs) in the global marine realm. These scientific criteria help define specific ocean areas in need of protection and scientific guidance for designing representative networks of marine protected areas. The seven criteria are: Uniqueness or rarity; special importance for life history of species; importance for threatened, endangered or declining species and/or habitats; vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, slow recovery; biological; biological diversity and naturalness. The 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan in 2010 called on coastal States and regional organisations to identify EBSAs and report them to a CBD repository.
ECOMAREcosystems of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at the Sub-Polar Front and Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone – an international follow up research project to Mar-Eco.
Eco-RegionEcoregions are defined by WWF as "relatively large units of land or water containing a distinct assemblage of natural communities and species, with boundaries that approximate the original extent of natural communities prior to major land-use change". Along these lines for the terrestrial and freshwater ecoregions, Spalding et al. (2007) developed categories of marine ecoregions.
EcosystemA community of organisms and their physical environment interacting as an ecological unit
Ecosystem ApproachThe comprehensive integrated management of human activities based on the best available scientific knowledge about the ecosystem and its dynamics, in order to identify and take action on influences which are critical to the health of the marine ecosystems, thereby achieving sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services and maintenance of ecosystem integrity.
EEZsee 'Exclusive Economic Zone'
EndemicNative, and restricted, to a particular locality or specialised habitat
EU Maritime PolicyThe Integrated Maritime Policy of the EU seeks to provide a more coherent approach to maritime issues, with increased coordination between different policy areas and single sectors, including maritime spatial planning. The EC Marine Strategy Framework Directive is its environmental pillar.
EutrophicationThe enrichment of water by nutrients causing an accelerated growth of algae and higher forms of plant life to produce an undesirable disturbance to the balance of organisms present in the water and to the quality of the water concerned, and therefore refers to the undesirable effects resulting from anthropogenic enrichment by nutrients
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)An area in which a coastal State has sovereign rights over all the economic resources of the sea, seabed and subsoil (see Articles 56 – 58, Part V, UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982) extending 200 nm from the baseline at the maximum.
Extended Continental ShelfThe seabed and its resources beyond 200 nm from the baseline claimed by a coastal State, subject to a submission to the UN CLCS

FAOsee 'United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization'

Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI)

The Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative is an international partnership advancing the scientific basis for conserving biological diversity in the deep seas and open oceans. It aims to help countries, as well as regional and global organisations, to use existing and develop new data, tools, and methodologies to identify ecologically significant areas in the oceans, with an initial focus on areas beyond national jurisdiction. This initiative began in late 2008 as a collaboration between the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), IUCN, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Marine Conservation Biology Institute, Census of Marine Life, Ocean Biogeographic Information System and the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab of Duke University. With currently more than 20 partners, the initiative continues to seek additional collaborators to help bring the best science and data to bear on the identification of ecologically significant areas in areas beyond national jurisdiction. GOBI is currently facilitated by IUCN with core support from the BfN. The work under this initiative builds on the scientific criteria adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2008 to identify ecologically and biologically significant areas (EBSAs) in the global marine realm. It ultimately aims to help countries meet the goals adopted under different global forums, e. g. the CBD and at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. These global goals relate to reducing the rate of biodiversity loss, applying ecosystem approaches, and establishing representative marine protected area networks by 2012.


Habitats DirectiveThe EC Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora was adopted in 1992. The main aim is to maintain or restore natural habitats and wild species listed on its Annexes at a favourable conservation status by, inter alia, establishing special areas of conservation (SACs).
Helsinki Commission for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea (HELCOM)The governing body under the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Convention (Helsinki Convention, a Regional Seas Convention comparable to OSPAR). Contracting Parties are: Denmark, Estonia, European Community, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden.
High SeasWater column beyond the outer limits of coastal States' EEZs (= the international waters beyond 200 nm from the baseline) as defined by the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS).
Hydrographic FrontA distinct boundary at which two water bodies of different temperature or salinity or both meet without mixing. Often driven by horizontal ocean currents, such fronts can result in vertical divergences or convergences of water masses.

IAEAsee 'International Atomic Energy Agency'
ICCATsee 'International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas'
ICESsee 'International Council for the Exploration of the Sea'
IMOsee 'International Maritime Organization'
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)An international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose.
International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)An intergovernmental organisation responsible for the management and conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas.
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)The global convention under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to regulate, prevent and minimise operational and accidental discharges and emissions from ships, including oil (Annex I), chemicals (Annex II), harmful substances carried in packaged form (Annex III), sewage (Annex IV), garbage (Annex VI) and noxious air emissions (Annex VI). MARPOL was adopted in 1973 and amended in 1978 Between 68 and 151 Parties have so far ratified its respective Annexes.
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)Established in 1902, it is the world’s oldest intergovernmental science organization. ICES is a leading multidisciplinary scientific forum for the exchange of information and ideas on all aspects of marine sciences pertaining to the North Atlantic, including the adjacent Baltic Sea and North Sea, and for the promotion and coordination of marine research by scientists within its member nations.
International Maritime Organization (IMO)A specialized agency of the United Nations with 169 Member States and three Associate Members. The IMO's primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.
International Seabed Authority (ISA)An independent, intergovernmental treaty organization, that was established under the United Nations Law of the Sea to organize and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, an area underlying most of the world’s oceans.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)Also known as World Conservation Union, IUCN helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges and is composed of over 1,000 governmental and non-governmental members.
International Whaling Commission (IWC)An international body responsible for the conservation of whales and the management of whaling.
ISAsee 'International Seabed Authority'
IsobathAn imaginary line or one drawn on a map connecting all points of equal depth below the surface of a body of water.
IUCNsee 'International Union for Conservation of Nature'
IWCsee 'International Whaling Commission'
K-StrategistSpecies of organism that uses a survival and reproductive 'strategy' characterised by low fecundity, low mortality and longer life. It's populations approach the carrying capacity of the environment and are controlled by density-dependent factors.

Lomonosov RidgeAn unusual underwater ridge of continental crust in the Arctic Ocean. It spans 1800 km from the New Siberian Islands, as it is part of Eurasia, over the central part of the ocean to Ellesmere Island of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The width of the Lomonosov Ridge varies from 60 to 200 km. It rises 3,300 to 3,700 m above the seabed.
London Convention (LC) and London Protocol (LP) on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other MatterThe global convention and follow-up protocol, hosted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) aiming to regulate and prevent any deliberate input of substances, waste or energy into the sea, such as dumping of industrial chemical or radioactive waste, dumping of disused offshore installations, ships or aircrafts, and incineration of waste at sea. LC/LP also have the mandate to regulate ocean fertilisation and carbon dioxide storage (CCS). The are 87 Contracting Parties to LC and 41 to LP.

MARsee 'Mid-Atlantic Ridge'
Mar-EcoThe international research consortium established in the context of the Census of Marine Life (CoML) to focus on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Mar-Eco fostered key scientific results about the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone and adjacent areas.
Marine Protected Area (MPA)An area within the maritime area for which protective, conservation, restorative or precautionary measures, consistent with international law have been instituted for the purpose of protecting and conserving species, habitat, ecosystems or ecological processes of the marine environment
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP)According to UNESCO’s definition, marine spatial planning is a public process of analysing and allocating the spatial and temporal distribution of human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and social objectives that usually have been specified through a political process. Essentially, marine spatial planning is a planning tool that enables integrated, forward-looking and consistent decision-making on the use of the sea. Numerous countries around the globe are embracing this tool to combat crowded usage of their territorial sea waters. In areas beyond national jurisdiction, MSP is still in its infancy.
Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD)This EC Directive entered force in July 2008 and obliges all EU Member States to take measures to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) in their waters by 2020. There are 11 descriptors for GES including criteria for biological diversity, healthy fish stocks, seafloor integrity eutrophication, chemical pollution and underwater noise. The Directive addresses marine protected areas as particularly important to achieve GES.
Maritime Area (Synonym: OSPAR Area)The waters covered by the OSPAR Convention
MARPOLsee 'International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships'
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)A document describing a bilateral or multilateral agreement between parties or between intergovernmental organisations such as the MoUs between OSPAR, NEAFC, IMO and ISA.
Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR)The MAR is a mid-ocean ridge and part of the longest mountain range in the world. It separates the Eurasian Plate and North American Plate in the North Atlantic, and the African Plate from the South American Plate in the South Atlantic.
MoUsee 'Memorandum of Understanding'
MPAsee 'Marine Protected Area'

NAFOsee 'Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization'
NAMMCOsee 'North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission'
NASCOsee 'North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization'
Natura 2000 NetworkEU wide network of nature protection areas established under the EC Habitats and Birds Directives. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. It is comprised of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) designated by Member States under the Habitats Directive, and also incorporates Special Protection Areas (SPAs) which they designate under the EU Birds Directive. The legal basis for designating marine Natura 2000 sites in the EEZs of Member States was only laid in the late 1990s.
Nautical Mile (nm)1 nautical mile (nm) is 1,852 metres
NEAFCsee 'North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission'
nmsee 'Nautical Mile'
North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO)An international body for cooperation on the conservation, management and study of marine mammals in the North Atlantic. NAMMCO believes that whaling should be more extensive than currently allowed under the IWC moratorium which prohibits all (large species) whaling with a few specific exceptions.
North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO)An international organization with the mission to contribute through consultation and cooperation to the conservation, restoration, enhancement and rational management of salmon stocks
North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy (NEA Strategy)OSPAR's five environmental strategies were first adopted by Environment Ministers in 2003 and reviewed by the Ministerial Meeting in 2010. The new comprehensive strategy sets out objectives, targets, timelines and envisaged measures to protect biological diversity, combat eutrophication and prevent pollution from hazradous and radioactive substances as well as offshor oil and gas industry.
North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC)The Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO) pertaining to the North-East Atlantic. NEAFC is the competent authority for recommending measures to Contracting Parties to promote the rational exploitation of fisheries in the NEAFC Area including spatial conservation measures, but beyond areas under national fisheries jurisdiction of Contracting Parties. Contracting Parties are Denmark on behalf of Greenland and the Faroe Islands, the EU, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation. The NEAFC Convention Area is identical with the OSPAR Maritime Area. The NEAFC Regulatory Area comprises the High Seas only.
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO)The Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO) bordering to the OSPAR and NEAFC Area. It is responsible for the management and conservation of the fishery resources of the Regulatory Area (waters outside the EEZs). It annually decides on the NAFO fisheries regulations, the total allowable catch (TAC) and quotas as well as spatial measures.
NutrientsDissolved phosphorus, nitrogen and silicate compounds

OCEANAA global non-governmental, non-profit organisation, particularly dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of our oceans, its biological diversity and resources.
OSPARThe term 'OSPAR' refers to both the OSPAR Commission and the former Oslo and Paris Commissions. The 1972 Oslo Convention and the 1974 Paris Conventon were replaced by the 1992 OSPAR Convention when it entered into force on 25 March 1998.
OSPAR Annex VIn 1998, OSPAR Ministers signed Annex V, to the Convention, on the Protection and Conservation of the Ecosystems and Biological Diversity of the Maritime Area, in conjunction with the first OSPAR Biodiversity Strategy. Annex V entered into force in 2000. In subsequent years, instruments and programmes were adopted based on its provisions, including on threatened and declinig species and marine protected areas. The OSPAR Biodiversity Committee is charged with this work area.
OSPAR Area (Synonym: Maritime Area)The waters covered by the OSPAR Convention
OSPAR CommissionThe governing body under the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, a Regional Seas Convention equivalent to the Helsinki (Baltic), Barcelona (Mediterranean) and Bucharest (Black Sea) Conventions. The OSPAR Commission is a merger of the former Oslo and Paris Commissions. The 1972 Oslo Convention and the 1974 Paris Convention were replaced by the 1992 OSPAR Convention when it entered into force on 25 March 1998. OSPAR has 15 Contracting Parties including the European Community.
OSPAR ListIn 2003, OSPAR adopted its initial list of threatened and declining species and habitats which has been reviewed and extended since then. The list includes many features pertinent to the high seas marine protected areas and deep water ecosystems such as: cold-water coral reefs, deepwater sponge aggregations, seamounts, hydrothermal vent fields, coral gardens, deepwater sharks and orange roughy. There are background documents for most of them as well as recommendations for conservation measures.
OSPAR MMCMinisterial Meetings of the OSPAR Commission, held 1992 (Paris), 1998 (Sintra, Portugal), 2003 (Bremen, Germany) and 2010 (Bergen, Norway)

Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA)An area that needs special protection through action by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) because of its significance for recognized ecological or socio-economic or scientific reasons and which may be vulnerable to damage by international maritime activities.
Pelagic FishFish that spend most of their life swimming in the water column with little contact with, or dependency on, the bottom.
PhytoplanktonThe collective term for the photosynthetic members of plankton
PlanktonAny drifting organisms (animals, plants or bacteria) that inhabit the pelagic zone of oceans, seas, or bodies of fresh water. That is, plankton are defined by their ecological niche rather than phylogenetic or taxonomic classification. They provide a crucial source of food to larger, more familiar aquatic organisms such as fish and whales. Though many planktonic species are microscopic, plankton includes organisms covering a wide range of sizes, including large organisms such as jellyfish.
PollutionThe introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the maritime area which results, or is likely to result, in hazards to human health, harm to living resources and marine ecosystems, damage to amenities or interference with other legitimate uses of the sea
Polluter Pays Principle (PPP)A generally recognized principle of International Environmental Law: the party responsible for producing pollution is responsible for paying for the damage done to the natural environment.
Precautionary Approach/Principle (PP)Management approach where preventive measures are to be taken when there are reasonable grounds for concern that substances or energy introduced, directly or indirectly, into the marine environment may bring about hazards to human health, harm living resources and marine ecosystems, damage amenities or interfere with other legitimate uses of the sea, even when there is no conclusive evidence of a causal relationship between the inputs and the effects. Arising from pollution prevention originally, the precautionary principle is nowadays applied to other types of human pressures, including fisheries, and enshrined in many international marine conventions.
PSSAsee 'Particularly Sensitive Sea Area'
Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO)An international organisation dedicated to the sustainable management of fishery resources in a particular region of international waters, or of highly migratory species.
Regulatory AreaThe High Seas part of the NEAFC Convention where management measures are applied
Reykjanes RidgeThe section of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge which includes the island of Iceland.

SeamountAn elevated area of limited extent rising 1000 m or more from the surrounding ocean floor, usually conical in shape.
Special Area (SA)An area where stricter standards to discharges from ships apply than in other parts of the ocean. The designation of Special Areas by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is possible under the provisions of Annexes I, II, IV, V of the MARPOL Convention. In addition, Annex VI allows for air Emission Control Areas (ECAs).
StakeholderPerson, group or organisation that has an interest in a project, organisation, the use of resources or management of activities.
StratificationThe separation of seawater into layers, e.g. due to steep gradients of water temperature or salinity or both
Subpolar Front (SPF)Climate interface zone in the northern hemisphere between cooler northern water and warmer, more salty water to the South. Latitudinal position varies seasonally and inter-annually within a zone from 48°N to 53°N.
Superjacent Water ColumnThe waters lying immediately above the sea-bed or deep ocean floor up to the surface
the Area'see 'Area'

United Nations BBNJUnited Nations adhoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction, discussing inter alia a global implementing agreement to this end.
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)Adopted in 1982, it defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. To date, 162 countries and the European Community have joined in the Convention.
UNGAsee 'United Nations General Assembly'
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO)Leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO helps developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices, ensuring good nutrition and food security for all. The FAO oversees the work of the RFMOs and the implementation of the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement.
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)The only organ of the United Nations in which all member nations have equal representation. Its powers are to oversee the budget of the United Nations, appoint the non-permanent members to the Security Council, receive reports from other parts of the United Nations and make recommendations in the form of General Assembly Resolutions. The UNGA has adopted resolutions on sustainable fishing as well as oceans and the law of the sea and reviewed them on a regular basis.
UpwellingThis occurs near coasts where winds persistently drive surface water seaward, causing an upward movement of cold, nutrient-rich water from ocean depths, and in the open ocean where surface currents are divergent. Local upwelling is often observed at or near seamounts. Frontal upwelling is possible where two water bodies meet with their currents (divergence).

Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VME)Deep-sea features and communities prone to physical and functional damage from fishing practices, including deep water sponge aggregations, cold water coral reefs, vents, seeps and seamounts. The FAO International Guidelines contain criteria relevant to the identification of a VME: Uniqueness or rarity, functional significance of the habitat, fragility, life-history traits of component species that make recovery difficult, structural complexity. Some of the critera match with those for EBSAs. The UNGA resolutions on sustainable fisheries call on coastal States and RFMOs to protect VMEs from destructive fishing practices, in particular bottom trawling, where they are known or likely to occur.

Water ColumnThe vertical column of water extending from the sea surface to the seabed
Water MassA body of water within an ocean characterised by its physicochemical properties of temperature, salinity, depth and movement.
World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)This global summit of the United Nations took place in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002, following up on the 1992 Rio Summit in 1992. With regard to the oceans, nations agreed to restore the world's depleted fisheries by 2015, to cease destructive fishing practices and establish marine protected area networks by 2012. The next summit will be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
WWFWorld Wide Fund For Nature

ZoobenthosAnimals that live on or in the seabed
ZooplanktonThe animal component of the plankton; animals suspended or drifting in the water column including larvae of many fish and benthic invertebrates