The sound of mines on the high seas “endangers marine life”

Noise pollution from deep-sea mining operations is said to have an impact on marine life, according to a new report from the NGO OceanCare.

OceanCare, based in Switzerland, holds special consultative status on marine issues with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Levels of human-generated noise pollution have increased every decade since the 1960s, said ocean policy expert Cyrill Martin of OceanCare.

“Deep sea mining would take noise pollution to a whole new level, due to the presence of loud noise sources throughout the very deep water column and the very long duration of noise emissions,” a- he declared.

Noise levels from underwater mining activity would be “several hundred times louder” than from a space rocket launch, the report said.

Noise pollution has already been shown to impact marine life, said Dalhousie University marine biologist Lindy Weilgart. “To add another source of constant, loud noise without further research into the impacts and significant efforts to reduce the noise would be totally irresponsible.”

OceanCare recommends that deep sea mining regulations incorporate the precautionary principle until more scientific research has been undertaken into the effect of deep sea noise emissions on ocean life.

It also calls for the drafting of the deep-sea mining code, currently underway by the International Seabed Authority, to be halted until more reliable data exists.

The recommendations put forward by OceanCare are reasonable, said Hans Smit, chief executive of deep-sea mining company Ocean Minerals. mining magazine.

The recommendations broadly mirror those currently being undertaken by the mining industry, he said, with the exception of halting development of the underwater mining code. In this regard, “I would suggest that we be allowed to go ahead, but that we can adapt as more information becomes available.”

The industry is aware that noise pollution is a problem and is a key part of exploration design, Smit said.

Research into ocean noise has been undertaken, Smit said, with Norway’s Det Norske Veritas (DNV) creating an underwater noise level classification system for ships earlier this year. DNV and the American Bureau of Shipping are working on developing guidelines for sound emission levels in underwater mining, Smit said.

ABS said last month it planned to class Allseas’ deep-sea mining vessel, hidden gemwhich will be used by The Metals Company to harvest polymetallic nodules from the ocean floor.

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