Biologists estimate that somewhere between 500,000 and 5,000,000 marine species have yet to be discovered. But the rate of exploitation is massively outstripping the speed of exploration and some species could be wiped out before they even get a name.
2016 is a key date for the oceans. It is the date when the first industrial scale deep sea mining operations are due to begin. If deep seabed mining companies take their example from the large commercial fishing companies it will be a date that spells disaster.
It is estimated that only 1% of the oceans have been explored and that more people have stood on the moon than have explored the depths of the deepest ocean canyons. In fact, there are more maps of the moon than of the oceans,so there is literally a whole world to discover! Every year this ocean treasure chest of minerals and medicines yields important discoveries that are invaluable to science.
This is all made possible by the development of new machines and increasing technical know-how, but many scientists fear that big business and not knowledge and research will benefit most from these advances.
Seabed and deep sea mining is an emerging industry, which could have devastating impacts.
But all is not lost. Ocean sanctuaries will protect vulnerable areas of the ocean and prevent them from being destroyed before they are properly explored and save species that could be vital for ocean health but haven’t yet even been discovered.