Deep sea news (19-26 September 2022)

Date: September 28, 2022

Check out the top stories from the deep, taken from coverage between 19-26 September 2022

California bill prevents seabed mining in state waters

Source: Monterey Bay Aquarium

California has enacted the Seabed Mining Prevention Act (AB 1832), after the bill received unanimous and bipartisan support in the state legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature.

California has followed US States Oregon and Washington in outlawing deep-sea mining in their waters. The Monterey Bay Aquarium joined with Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis and Surfrider to support Assembly Bill 1832, authored by Assemblymember Luz Rivas, which bans destructive mining of mineral deposits on the seafloor.

Ocean scientists measure sediment plume stirred up by deep-sea mining vehicle

Source:  Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Author: Jennifer Chu

“A new field study reveals a previously unobserved fluid dynamic process that is key to assessing impact of deep-sea mining operations.”

Scientists from MIT are tracking the sediment disruption that would be caused by deep-sea mining operations in the Clarion Clipperton Zone, were the industry to go ahead. They have observed a kind of disturbance called a “turbidity current”, a spreading plume of dense sediment which could be extremely harmful to deep-sea organisms.

Hon Eugenie Sage questions the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs on deep-sea mining


The Honorable Eugenie Sage poses questions on deep-sea mining to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Nanaia Mahuta. 

“Has she […] sought advice about New Zealand changing their position and calling for a moratorium on deep sea mining alongside our Pacific neighbors?”

“If negotiations do not succeed at the ISA, to achieve the effective protection framework of the environment, New Zealand will be calling for no deep sea mining to occur.”

New Zealand moving closer to calling for international ban on deep-sea mining

Source: Stuff

Author: Thomas Manch

‘’A lack of progress is evidenced by being able to achieve that outcome, but also the landscape’s moved quite a bit in terms of where the Pacific are now positioning themselves, so we have to take that on board as we review our own position’’

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has expressed concern over the ISA’s “disappointing” “lack of progress” on deep sea mining regulations. “Taking on board” the growing resistance from Pacific Island Nations such as Palau, Samoa, Fiji, and Federated States of Micronesia, New Zealand could move towards a ban on deep sea mining.

Significant progress made at NAFO meeting to protect Vulnerable Greenland sharks and deep-sea ecosystems


Authors: Petir Garda Bhwana, Non Koresponden

“At its 44th Annual Meeting held in Porto, Portugal, the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) made significant progress in agreeing new fisheries science and management measures. This meeting was the first in person annual meeting since 2019, and the Deep Sea Conservation (DSCC) attended as an observer.”

NAFO has taken promising steps in combating overfishing and protecting marine ecosystems. Among other decisions, a prohibition on the retention of Greenland sharks in the Northwest Atlantic was agreed upon.

EU protects deep-sea life from bottom trawling, as new science shows up NZ industry proposal

Source: Scoop

’The European Union has agreed new measures to protect seamounts from bottom trawling, showing up the New Zealand government’s inaction on the issue, environment groups said today.’’

While the EU has moved to protect a further 16,000km2 of seabed from deep-sea trawling, New Zealand is “dragging its heels” on legislation. This is as NIWA Scientists continue to discover deep sea seamounts and features which are crucial habitats to corals and sponges.