16 Nov 2011

Calls for careful monitoring of deep seabed mining off PNG

11:38 am on 16 November 2011

An American Scientist says there's a need for careful monitoring before, during and after the impending deep seabed mining off the shores of Papua New Guinea.

Penn State University biology professor, Charles Fisher, says this will provide the hard data that will guide responsible deep seabed mining practices.

He told a recent meeting of the Pacific Geoscience Commission, SOPAC, that mining activities planned with conservation in mind might have little long-term effect on the animal life found where deep seabed minerals lie.

But Dr Fisher says poorly planned or intense mining activity could have devastating effects on the fauna, especially on relatively rare species or isolated populations.

He says in the deep, dark environment at depths of around 2,000 metres, in often highly acidic waters, creatures have evolved that are not dependent upon sunlight for the manufacture of their food.