In the first governmental alliance of its kind, the Pacific nations of Palau, Fiji and Samoa have today announced their opposition to deep sea mining, calling for a moratorium on the emerging industry amidst growing fears it will destroy the seafloor and damage biodiversity.
Announcing the alliance just as a United Nations Oceans Conference kicks off in Lisbon the news comes off the back of mounting opposition to deep sea mining with Chile announcing support for a 15 year moratorium earlier this month and Tuvalu rescinding sponsorship for mining.
Greenpeace Aotearoa campaigner James Hita is calling the new alliance “absolutely monumental” and says now is the time for the New Zealand Government to take a strong stand on the issue.
“The message from our Pacific neighbours is clear: we need urgent action on deep sea mining to protect the ocean that connects and nourishes us. Deep sea mining is a threat to us all, the ocean is home to over 90% of life on earth and is one of our greatest allies in the fight against climate change,” says Hita.
“The New Zealand government has a once in a lifetime opportunity to help stop this destructive extractive industry before it starts.”
“This month we launched a petition calling on the New Zealand government and Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta to support a ban on deep sea mining in the Pacific and around the world and already over 7,000 people have signed.”
Deep sea mining is a destructive and untested industry where minerals are sucked up from the ocean floor and waste materials pumped back into the ocean leaving a sediment plume that smothers marine life, threatening vulnerable ecosystems, fisheries and people’s way of life.
Disruptions to the ocean floor may also reduce the ocean’s ability to sequester carbon, adding to the climate crisis.
Without action from Governments to stop it, mining of the deep seas in the Pacific could begin as early as mid 2023. Scientists warn that deep sea mining would result in an irreversible loss of biodiversity and could threaten other benefits to humanity, including future medicines and fisheries for tuna and other species.
The alliance between Palau, Fiji and Samoa was made by Palau’s President Surangel Whipps Jr at an event co- hosted by the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as part of a side event at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon.
It comes after Vanuatu has previously declared its opposition to deep sea mining and it was banned in the Australian states of New South Wales and the Northern Territory earlier this year.
It’s time for New Zealand to take a stand. Join our call on the New Zealand government to back a global moratorium on seabed mining.