Deep-sea fisheries take place at great depths (between 200-2000 meters), on continental slopes, oceanic seamounts, ridge systems banks. These fisheries target demersal/benthic species using a range of gears including bottom and mid-water trawls, pots and longlines.
Deep-sea fisheries take place in both exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Most of these fisheries are competitive and require significant investment. The types of fishing gear, vessels and people employed in these fisheries vary greatly. They include small-scale deep-sea fisheries though the majority are commercial, technologically advanced operations using a variety of gears.
Since the 1990s, fishers have increasingly moved further offshore and into deep-sea regions. This was prompted by advances in technology which made it easier to exploit resources at great depths. In addition, the declaration of EEZs expanded States’ exclusive fishing areas and drove those excluded from these zones to seek other fishing grounds.
Significant global efforts are currently underway to improve conservation and sustainable use of the deep-sea high seas and its resources and ecosystems.