Deep-sea news (12-19 June)

Date: June 20, 2023

Check out the top stories from the deep, taken from coverage between 12-19 June 2023

Greenpeace Mexico launches campaign against deep-sea mining

Source: Mining.Com

Author: Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

This week, around 100 activists, volunteers and citizens led by Greenpeace gathered at the Port of Veracruz in Mexico to protest against deep-sea mining and demand that the Mexican government takes a strong stand to protect the global ocean. “We must stop deep-sea mining before it starts,” Ruth Ramos, campaigner for Stop Underwater Mining, said at the event.

The activists built the shape of an octopus with torches under umbrellas and announced the launching of a new campaign against seabed mineral extraction. A growing number of countries including Germany, France, Spain, Chile, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Panama, Palau, Samoa, Fiji and Micronesia, among others, have called on the ISA to halt the rush to open the deep to destructive deep-sea mining.

Multimillion dollar fishing vessel forfeited after bottom trawling breach

Source: Stuff

Author: Catherine Hubbard

In New Zealand, a fishing company has been ordered to forfeit a multimillion dollar vessel – the Tasman Viking – after it failed to properly identify, assess and report vulnerable bamboo coral in its catch.

At the Nelson District Court on Tuesday, Westfleet Fishing Ltd pleaded guilty to charges of contravening a condition of a high seas permit and failing to report the coral capture. Judge David Ruth ordered the forfeiture of the trawler Tasman Viking to the Crown. They fined the company $56,250. Bottom trawling is permitted in certain areas under the Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fisheries Resources in the South Pacific Ocean, which New Zealand has signed. Under the convention, threshold limits are set for vulnerable organisms such as coral and sponges.

Ministers ‘brave or foolish’ to refuse Attenborough call for deep-sea mining ban

Source: Sudbury Mercury

Author: PA News Agency

The UK Government has been warned that it would be either brave or foolish to refuse calls backed by Sir David Attenborough for a ban on deep-sea mining. Labour MP Kerry McCarthy claimed that the British Government’s position on deep-sea mining stopped short of the “precautionary pause” called for by the naturalist and broadcaster, as well as other celebrities.

Foreign Office minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan told the Commons the UK Government will not sponsor or support deep-sea mining contracts unless there is sufficient scientific evidence about its potential effects on ecosystems and until strong and enforceable environmental regulations and standards are in place. “I have to say, it is a brave politician or perhaps a foolish one who takes on Sir David Attenborough, who has said it is beyond reason to be contemplating the destruction of deep-sea places before we understand them properly… Sir David also says we should listen to the scientists, and over 700 scientists from 44 countries have just supported a precautionary pause, so why won’t the Government?”

Ocean mining ban sought

Source: Science

Last week, Europe’s top science advisory panel called for a moratorium on commercial deep-sea mining. The panel concluded that its environmental impacts are poorly understood and that critical clean energy minerals can be harvested from mines on land. Although individual scientists have previously called for a moratorium, this is the first such call by a major scientific panel.

According to some forecasts, only the highest demand scenarios for minerals used in renewable power and electric vehicles require supplies from the deep sea, says the report from the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council. This July, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) will consider a moratorium in international waters. The United States is not an ISA member because it has not ratified the Law of the Sea Convention.

Environmental groups protest bottom trawling

Source: Taipei Times

Author: Chung Li-hua and Jason Pan / Staff reporters

Environmental groups displayed dead fish outside the Executive Yuan in Taipei, Taiwan, to protest bottom trawling. The groups say the fishing practice would wreck the marine environment around Taiwan and deplete fish stocks due to the indiscriminate killing and destruction of marine ecosystems.

“Bottom trawling is among the most destructive fishing methods, with nets entraining virtually all forms of marine creature, large and small,” the Environment and Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) said in a news release. “It ravages the seabed, wipes out marine biodiversity, and demolishes habitats for many species of fish, crustaceans, sponges and coral.” EAST director Chen Yu-min (陳玉敏) calls on the Fisheries Agency to strictly regulate and monitor Taiwanese vessels that use the method and enact measures to phase it out.

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