Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Deep ocean needs policy, stewardship where it never existed, experts urge

Date:
February 16, 2014
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
echnological advances have made the extraction of deep sea mineral and precious metal deposits feasible, and the dwindling supply of land-based materials creates compelling economic incentives for deep sea industrialization. But at what cost? Plans to begin mining nodules of valuable metals from deep ocean deposits have oceanographers concerned about the lack of public awareness or international agreements governing these habitats. "The deep sea is out of sight, out of mind ... there's a whole level of concern that isn't being expressed when it comes to deep sea industrialization," an expert said.

Technological advances have made the extraction of deep sea mineral and precious metal deposits feasible, and the dwindling supply of land-based materials creates compelling economic incentives for deep sea industrialization. But at what cost?

"We're really in the dark when it comes to the ecology of the deep sea," said Linwood Pendleton, director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. "We know a lot about a few places, but nobody is dealing with the deep sea as a whole, and that lack of general knowledge is a problem for decision-making and policy."

Pendleton is one of the speakers for the symposium "Deep Ocean Industrialization: A New Stewardship Frontier" on Feb. 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago.

Cindy Lee Van Dover, director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory, and Lisa Levin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego are joining Pendleton and other experts in calling for a stewardship approach to deep sea development.

"It is imperative to work with industry and governance bodies to put progressive environmental regulations in place before industry becomes established, instead of after the fact," Van Dover said. "One hundred years from now, we want people to say 'they got this right based on the science they had, they weren't asleep at the wheel.'"

Knowing what kind of regulations to put in place is complicated by the fact that the deep sea crosses political, geographic, and disciplinary boundaries, and there is still much about deep sea systems that is unknown.

"We need international agreements and an entity that can develop and oversee deep-ocean stewardship," said Levin, "We also need multiple sources of research funding that can help provide the scientific information that we need to manage the deep sea. All of this will require efforts that bridge several disciplines and engage stakeholders in these discussions."

Engaging stakeholders and society in an issue that takes place miles from land and fathoms underwater can be a daunting task, especially in the face of economic arguments for mining the deep sea for materials used in products that society values, like cell phones and other electronics.

"The deep sea is out of sight, out of mind, and because there isn't a specific human society that will be directly impacted by the negative consequences of extraction, there's a whole level of concern that isn't being expressed when it comes to deep sea industrialization," Van Dover said. But that doesn't mean that the consequences don't exist, from changes in marine food webs to shifts in oceanic and atmospheric chemical composition.

"Extraction from the deep sea is a tradeoff. Is the value of what we're extracting greater than the damage?" Pendleton asks. "Are there ways to extract that might be more economically costly but have lower ecological impact? How can we repair the considerable damage that has already been done to the sea floor through trawling, pollution, and other practices? These are questions that we need to answer before industrial activity gets ahead of scientific understanding," Pendleton said.

"There's just so much that we don't know about the deep sea, and we need that basic research before we form policy -- but we also urgently need policy before this window of opportunity closes," Van Dover said, "This is environmental management in a place where we've never conceived of it before, and we need to start the conversation about how we're going to go about it."

The symposium was organized by Lisa Levin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and Kristina Gjerde, International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Additional speakers include Samantha Smith of Nautilus Minerals and Bronwen Currie of the National Marine Information and Research Center. The symposium is sponsored by the Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative and the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Deep ocean needs policy, stewardship where it never existed, experts urge." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140216151359.htm>.
Duke University. (2014, February 16). Deep ocean needs policy, stewardship where it never existed, experts urge. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140216151359.htm
Duke University. "Deep ocean needs policy, stewardship where it never existed, experts urge." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140216151359.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins