Deep sea news – (6 – 13 February)

Date: February 15, 2023

Check out the top stories from the deep, taken from coverage between 6 – 13 February 2023

Canada declares an effective moratorium on deep-sea mining at global ocean conservation summit

Source: Canada’s National Observer

Author:  Rochelle Baker

Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray and Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault made statements Thursday confirming Canada’s position on deep-sea mining at the IMPAC5 leadership forum in Vancouver.

Addressing the growing concerns around deep-sea mining, Canadian ministers stated that, until further scientific understanding is achieved, deep-sea mining must not begin – this stance constituting an “effective moratorium”. “Canada’s position with respect to the areas that we have jurisdiction over — and Canada’s position with respect to the international issue — are exactly the same,” he added.

Leaked video footage of ocean pollution shines light on deep-sea mining

Source: The Guardian

Author: Leyland Cecco

Would-be deep-sea miners rebut claims by scientists that ‘uncontrolled and unscientific’ practices highlight dangers of going ahead with seabed mining

The Guardian covers the ongoing controversy surrounding The Metals Company’s deep-sea mining trial, which took place last year. Scientists have raised concerns the would-be miners are falling short in their environmental monitoring strategy and highlighted attempts by a subcontractor to “influence independent scientific sampling activities” when no plume was present, warning that the deficiencies created a “failed and flawed monitoring operation.”

Canadian government announces $46.5 million for deepsea research at Vancouver conference

Source: Vancouver Sun

Author: Gordon Hoekstra

“It’s imperative that Canada better understand our oceans in terms of how they’re changing, how we can support their ecosystems and how we can sustainably manage resources,” Murray told a Vancouver news conference at the International Marine Protected Areas Congress Monday.

The funding will be provided to a University of Victoria based research program over the course of five years. It will enable the program to expand the range of its ocean monitoring, and provide deep sea data to researchers around the world.

Government of Canada and coastal First Nations announce progress to protect a large ecologically unique ocean area off the Pacific West Coast

Source: Government of Canada

We are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with First Nations, in the spirit of reconciliation on this agreement to cooperatively manage the proposed Tang.ɢwan — ḥačxwiqak — Tsig̱is. This Marine Protected Area demonstrates Canada’s shared determination to protect distinctive ecosystems and our priority to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Rare and unique species will be protected, contributing to the ocean’s health and sustainability.

In a press release, Canada has officially announced the formation of a new MPA. The area contains a culturally and ecologically significant deep seamounts which will now receive better protection from fishing and drilling activities.

5 reasons deep-sea mining is bad news for the planet

Source: Greenpeace

Author: Louisa Casson

The depths of our oceans hide a unique living world that we barely understand – but these mysteries are already under threat from a controversial new industry: deep sea mining.

Greenpeace explains the five key reasons why deep-sea mining is “a very bad idea”. These include threats to oceanic food chains, loss of carbon storage, and destruction of unique biodiversity.

Decarbonizing US transportation with an eye toward global justice

Source: Volts

Author: David Roberts

A conversation with Thea Riofrancos about reducing the need for lithium.

This podcast episode delves into the ‘green energy transition’ in America. A greater demand for batteries is feeding destructive mining practices such as deep-sea mining. Roberts and Riofrancos look at the sustainable alternatives, discussing the need for better travel infrastructure and a decreasing reliance on cars.

How Did Millions of Dead Crabs Wind Up in the Abyss?

Source: Hakai Magazine

Author: Fanni Szakal 

The unexpected discovery of a mass grave of red crabs 4,000 meters below the ocean’s surface is puzzling scientists—and raising questions about the ecology of the deep sea.

Scientific exploration of the Clarion Clipperton Zone continues to baffle, excite and even “embarrass” scientists. When Erik Simon-Lledó and the rest of the expedition discovered thousands of dead, but largely in tact crabs, they were presented with a total mystery. “It took us three or four days to actually realize that these are pelagic crabs”—“It is a bit embarrassing, but it [was] so unexpected. Nobody had heard of such a massive deposition in the abyss.” Szakal discusses the scientists’ theories, but the mystery remains largely unsolved. This expedition, and others like it point to the need to conserve this deep sea world we so little understand

Enric Sala: ‘When we give space to the ocean, it comes back spectacularly’

Source: China Dialogue Ocean

Author: Jessica Aldred, Jack Lo Lau

The National Geographic explorer talks about his recent Pristine Seas expedition and the importance of protecting 30% of our ocean by 2030.

China Dialogue discuss ocean exploration with scientist, Enric Sala. Sala describes in breathtaking detail the deep sea landscapes reached in state of the art submersibles. Sala advocates the need for well managed MPAs, and the necessity of reaching 30×30 .

The unknown giants of the deep oceans

Source: BBC

Author: Martha Henriques

Expeditions to the depths of the oceans have revealed strange dark worlds bristling with species new to science – now the race is on to discover them.

With the ocean and its ecosystems “on the brink of profound change”, the BBC covers the “race” to explore and discover its many undiscovered secrets – secrets which just might hold the key to the planet’s survival. In dialogue with scientist Tammy Horton, the piece describes the ingenious innovations being used to better understand deep sea life.

‘Imminent threat’: plans to mine the bottom of the ocean raise concerns as Canada announces moratorium

Source: The Narwhal

Author: Francesca Fionda

Underwater mining to make batteries could create ‘a massive deadzone’ on the ocean floor. Canada has issued a temporary domestic ban — but regulating international waters is trickier

While Canada calling for a domestic moratorium on DSM is a positive step in preventing this destructive industry – NGOs and scientists alike are asking for more from the Canadian government. The next meeting of the International Seabed Authority is fast approaching, and many feel that Canada must voice a call for an international moratorium on the global stage.

Mining marriage made in heaven?

Source: Baird Maritime

Author: Hieronymus Bosch

The surge in deepwater drilling activity and the slump in The Metals Company’s shares means that US$5.3 billion Transocean is now valued 18 times as much as The Metals Company.

The Metals Company are by no means the only company with plans to mine the seabed. The Metals Company has been undergoing a tumultuous trading period, and where they may be stumbling, other would-be deep-sea miners are vying to capitalise.

Electric vehicle batteries require precious minerals. That old cellphone may be the solution

Source: ABC News

Author: Morgan Korn

The mining of minerals like cobalt has come under intense scrutiny. That old laptop, cellphone and TV remote may have a newfound purpose: powering the next generation of electric vehicles.

As battery powered technologies (such as electric cars) develop at break-neck pace, the reuse of their mineral components could prevent the start of destructive and superfluous mining practices. Audi is one such company investing in this circular battery economy, and with an EV tax credit demanding a quota of nationally sourced materials in vehicles, there will be an “increased demand for automakers to get recycled content into their vehicles”.