Proactive Limits on Seabed Mining Would Safeguard West Coast Fisheries, Wildlife, and Communities

Collected research highlights risks to economic and cultural resources

Proactive Limits on Seabed Mining Would Safeguard West Coast Fisheries, Wildlife, and Communities

Mining the nearshore seafloor along the U.S. West Coast could cause significant damage to commercial and recreational fisheries, marine wildlife, and the communities and tribal nations that depend on them. Industrial-scale prospecting for gold, platinum, titanium, phosphorus, and other minerals along the ocean floor is increasing worldwide. By preventing this harmful activity before it starts, the West Coast can be a model for other regions that are hoping to avoid the possible consequences of seabed mining.

Lee First
Lee First
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Kayaker's Appreciation to Southwest Washington Waters

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Lee First recently wrapped up four months of chemotherapy for bone-marrow cancer—which kept her off the water for the first time in decades.

Getty
Getty
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Seabed Mining Could Threaten West Coast Fisheries

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Thirty years ago, scientists tested the potential effects of seabed mining by dragging a plow over a swath of ocean floor in the eastern Pacific Ocean, resulting in a sediment plume that buried the study area. The plow tracks from that 1989 experiment remain visible to this day, a testament to the lasting damage seabed mining could inflict.

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Seabed Mining
Seabed Mining
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Seabed Mining Project

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The cold, dark waters of the deep sea once were thought to be largely void of life, but scientists now know that the opposite is true. Underwater mountain chains teem with fish, corals, and other fauna and flora. Hydrothermal vents gush mineral-rich waters that support communities of deep-sea organisms. Unusual animals, many of which have yet to be identified, roam these surreal landscapes.