Source: Australia Network News
Environmental organisation Greenpeace International has called for a suspension in the granting of deep seabed mining licences.
A new report from the organisation has found that deep seabed mining could have a serious impact on the ocean environment and on the livelihood of coastal communities.
“We have some traditional medicines found in that sea area and as soon as explorations started, the communities began to see that this traditional medicine in the sea was eroding,” Seni Nabou, the political advisor for Greenpeace in Fiji, told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat.
Ms Nabou says a license has already been granted for deep seabed mining in Papua New Guinean waters.
She says a lot more work needs to be done to protect the world’s oceans before companies should be allowed to start operating.
“We don’t believe that seabed mining applications should be granted,” Ms Nabou said.
“Environmental impact assessments are not priority prior to any of this exploration taking place, nor are they being made public.
“No exploration or exploitation should take place unless or until the full range of marine habitats, biodiversity and ecosystem functions are adequately protected.”
Ms Nabou says many of the habitats on the deep sea floor are yet to be studied by scientists.
“The habitats are dark, previously thought to be lifeless by scientists, but we know now that this is not true,” she said.
“There are still too many unknowns out there, which is why we are joining the Pacific Conference of Churches…in calling for a moratorium on these applications until we know more.”
Ms Nabou says she wants a network of marine reserves to be set up in 40 per cent of the world’s oceans, where no extractive activities can take place.
“We particularly want to see rules to ensure that environmental and cumulative impacts of seabed mining as well as potential impacts, alternative uses and livelihoods have been thoroughly assessed,” she said.