Jamaican scientist speaks out against deep-sea mining as ISA meetings come to a close

Date: April 7, 2022

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

Jamaican marine scientist, Professor Mona Webber, joins other members of civil society and the scientific community in urging a delay in the acceptance of regulations for deep-sea mining coming out of the most recent meeting of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in Kingston.

Local marine scientist, Professor Mona Webber, has noted the need for countries to pace themselves.

“I share the concerns and support that there should be no issuing of licences until we know more. The deep sea is the largest habitat type on earth covering more than 50 per cent of the globe and over 80 per cent of ocean area. Due to the great depths of approximately 6,000m with a few areas being as much as 11,000m (this is four and seven miles deep), the deep sea floor remains largely unexplored,” she cautioned.

According to the professor, there is much at stake that must be prioritised as part of the decision-making on deep-sea mining. As an example, she said that the deep sea is considered one of the most biologically diverse areas on earth – “some think with higher biodiversity than coral reefs”.

“It is theorised that this is because it is so vast but also because it is stable and has remained undisturbed for such a long time. The deep sea also has these unique features like hydrothermal vent fields where giant animals that are found nowhere else on earth exist,” she explained.

“It is clear from the past two weeks that ISA member states are starting to wake up to the fact that if deep-sea mining were to be given the go-ahead in just over a year, the damage to the ocean and marine ecosystems would be irreparable, and critical carbon sinks could be at risk,” the April 4 release quoted Duncan Currie, who represented the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, as saying.

“It is disappointing, however, that to date, no state has called for an outright moratorium. Time is running out. States need to commit to a moratorium and to see that no regulations for exploitation are approved. We must be perfectly clear: adoption of regulations means giving the green light to deep-sea mining,” he added.

Read the full article here.

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