A group of marine biologists and oceanographers from the University of California, University of British Columbia, University of Hawaii and the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute, found evidence suggesting that fish such as skipjack, yellowfin tuna and bigeye are changing or their migration. patterns due to climate change and are already beginning to move in areas where people are planning to start deep sea mining.
In their paper published in the journal npj Sea Continuitythe group described their work as including studying the implications of deep-sea mining on marine life.
In the past few years, as deep-sea technology has improved, various companies around the world have begun to look at the deepest parts of the ocean floor as viable mining sites. Early research shows that shipping ships capable of collecting polymetallic nodules (fist-sized rocks with high concentrations of desired metals) should be viable, allowing for deep-sea mining. . Such rocks have been found to contain copper, cobalt, nickel, and manganese.
Proponents of such mining suggest that conducting mining operations in areas where there is little life to disturb represents a “clean” form of mining. Most expeditions to the deepest parts of the ocean find little evidence of sea creatures on the bottom. However, some around the world have suggested that deep-sea mining should be restricted, or banned, because of the damage it can cause to understudied ecosystems.
Now there seems to be a new wrinkle in the deep-sea mining proposal—the team with this new effort has found evidence that suggests many species of fish that until now did not migrate through or even in such areas, which more seen in those places in the deep sea.
The team’s work in this new effort includes studying wildlife in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone—a deep part of the Pacific Ocean, southeast of Hawaii. The 1.1m sq km parcel is subdivided and divided as contracts for deep-sea mining operations.
To assess the impact of mining in the area, the research team looked at the total biomass of the area under climate change models scenario. In doing so, they found that it is likely that bigeye, skipjack and yellowfish biomass will increase in area by approximately 0 to 11%, 30 to 31% and 23%, respectively, by the middle of this century. They also suggested that seafloor mining at the same time would almost certainly disrupt the ability of these fish to survive.
Diva J. Amon et al, Climate change to drive increasing overlap between Pacific tuna fisheries and emerging deep-sea mining industry, npj Sea Continuity (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s44183-023-00016-8
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