Pacific Island Countries Urged to Safeguard Oceans: Urgent Plea Against Seabed Mining

Pacific island countries are urged to work together to better protect the ocean from seabed mining that continues to plague the South Pacific.

Professor Transform Aqorau from Solomon Islands National University made this urgent plea at the first in the line of lecture series presented and hosted by Fiji National University Vice-Chancellor Professor Unaisi Nabobo-Baba.

“We can engage in collaborative research with international scientific communities to study the potential impacts of deep seabed mining on Marine ecosystems and biodiversity. We can adopt the proposed approach in policy making and regulatory frameworks, ensuring a deep sea bed mining does not proceed until there is a clear evidence and that it will not cause significant harm to the marine environment.”

“We could develop a regional framework for deep seabed mining that includes environmental safeguards, benefit sharing mechanisms and provisions for monitoring and enforcement. We could strengthen the capacity of Pacific Island countries to manage and regulate deep seabed mining activities and short ensuring that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to protect their marine resources.”

Professor Aqorau says Pacific islanders need to be more aware about the bad effects of sea bed mining.

“We need to increase public awareness and participation in decision making processes related to deep seabed mining and ensuring that the voices of local communities and stakeholders are heard and considered.”

“The region can work towards ensuring that any developments on seabed mining is conducted in a responsible and sustainable safeguarding the health of our oceans for future generations.”

Professor Unaisi echoed the same sentiments, pointing out as well that the sustainability of the Pacific Ocean is not only crucial for the livelihoods and well-being of Pacific communities but also for the preservation of our rich cultural heritage and biodiversity.

“The ocean is like our mother – our culture, our identities and the origin of stories are intertwined within her millennium-old mysteries, that she has provided for our families for eons and continues to do so.

“The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of the world ocean basin, covering ~63 million miles2. She is a home of diversity of many marine species and provides 70% of the global fish catch.”

Photo: FNU

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