Deep-sea news (5-12 June)

Date: June 20, 2023

Check out the top stories from the deep, taken from coverage between 5-12 June 2023

These Mysterious Deep-Sea Creatures Live in a Potential Mining Zone

Source: Greenpeace

Author: Smithsonian Magazine

Scientists have documented more than 5,500 animal species at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, but thousands more are likely to remain undiscovered.

More than 700 concerned scientists have called for a pause on deep sea mining contracts due to the lack of research on the topic. During the years-long controversy over deep sea mining, ocean advocates have made the case that the submerged metals are not actually necessary to produce green technologies. Scientists say mining could have a devastating effect on the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) ecosystem, which has likely remained untouched for millions of years. Mining could lead to habitat destruction, noise pollution and plumes of stirred-up sediments, potentially filled with toxic metals, that could float through the water and smother creatures as they settle.

 World Oceans Day: The ‘alien’ lifeforms of the deep ocean

Source: BBC News

A recent study by scientists from London’s Natural History Museum have discovered more than 5,000 new weird and wonderful creatures living on the seabed in the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the Pacific Ocean.

For a long time, scientists were under the impression that life in the ocean’s deepest waters was impossible. However, through exploration, we have a better picture of the rich ecosystem of the deep sea. This ecosystem of marine life is currently facing potential threats from the prospect of commercial deep-sea mining.

Taranaki council wants seabed mining banned

Source: East Anglican Daily Times

Author: Radio New Zealand

Source: Craig Ashworth

Seabed mining should be banned in New Zealand as any economic benefits will not outweigh the effects of “environmental vandalism” caused by the sediment plume on nearby reefs, South Taranaki District Council says.

Environmental damage to the seabed itself and to some of the most threatened and rare species in the world, as well as potential cultural damage created by adverse effects on the food baskets of three iwi and many recreational fishers, mean that seabed mining must not go ahead in the South Taranaki Bight or anywhere else in New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone.” Council officers told its iwi committee Te Kāhui Matauraura that STDC had been neutral on the issue but with more information available was now opposed. Ngāti Ruanui representative Sandy Parata reminded Te Kāhui Matauraura that the iwi had been fighting seabed mining for 10 years and recalled initial support from STDC.

Olivia Colman and Stephen Fry join calls for moratorium on deep sea mining

Source: Metro

Author: Danny Halpin

Olivia Colman, Jim Carter, Stephen Fry, Robert Lindsay and Joanna Lumley have all urged the UK to join a growing number of governments and companies around the world calling for a halt on the industry before it can begin. ‘It’s crucial the government fully considers the long-term consequences of deep-sea mining – the latest in a long list of threats to our beleaguered oceans,’ said Ms Colman.

The UK government has said it 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. However, it has rejected a moratorium, arguing it is better to be involved in negotiating for the introduction of environmental protections.

Europe’s top science panel supports call for moratorium on deep-sea mining

Source: Mongabay

Author: Elizabeth Claire Alberts

In a recent report, released on 8th June, the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) has announced its support for a moratorium on deep-sea mining, challenging the widespread claim that seabed minerals are needed to transition to renewable energy technologies, arguing that the necessary metals are available from other sources. Read the statement in full here.

The EASAC conveys its scepticism that deep-sea mining is necessary to meet the needs of critical minerals for renewable technologies. It also points out that deep-sea mining would cause irreparable harm to marine ecosystems, and that the mining regulator lacks a scientific definition of what qualifies as serious harm. Next month, members of the ISA will meet at the agency’s headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica, to discuss whether deep-sea mining should be allowed to proceed and what rules should govern such activity.

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