The article “Mind the Seafloor” by Antje Boetius and Matthias Haeckel informs about how the deep ocean floor is being seen more and more as a future resource for metals. There are increasing studies being made to measure risks of deep-sea mining and possible alternative technologies. Very little is known about the deep-sea because it is so hard to reach, with less and one-thousandth having been studied so far. So not a lot is known about the species that live there and how much they contribute to “the evolution of life and biodiversity on Earth” (Boetius and Haeckel 2018). There have also been suggestions that surface and deep-sea processes are very close and confirm effects of climate change and pollution spreading quickly. However, there is still not a lot known about the effects of mining in the deep-sea. There are important metal resources below, but they are not renewable because they grow over millions of years very slowly and mining is very damaging to the seafloor and the life there. Monitoring, managing, and protecting the ocean is not very well governed, and there is no system for repairing, restoring, and compensating for what has been done to the habitats in national waters. Metal mining has always been destructive and dangerous for the environments and the people in the area, and habitat care is expensive, but can reduce damages and help with restoration. “The high economic costs of ecological impact on land are often used as an argument for deep-sea mining”, but it would also be expensive to monitor, compensate, and restore the amount of seafloor damage that is expected (Boetius, Haeckel). There are currently several countries conducting research and developing technology for deep-sea mining, and one conclusion found so far is that mining the seafloor “reduces population densities and ecosystem functions for many decades” and long-term risks could be uncontrollable economically and ecologically. However, metal resources should be completely explored on land before endangering deep-sea habitats and species. The best option for the future of the deep-sea is to create an international deep-sea science and policy that can help us explore all possible options from the deep-sea.
This article’s topic would be under the geology sub-field of Oceanography.
I believe this article was posted to inform readers about how the deep-sea is becoming more and more of an important resource for humans, and that with this knowledge we need to work harder in taking care of the ocean.