Ocean scientists say the importance of providing Pacific governments with accurate data about the potential impacts of deep sea mining cannot be underestimated.
There's growing interest from mining companies in polymetallic nodules on the seabed in the far depths of the large parts of the Pacific Ocean.
A number of Pacific Island governments are backing exploration efforts by these companies, despite deep community concern about the fledgling insutry.
At the same time ocean scientists are conduct pioneering research into the deepsea, an environment which very little is known about.
In the first of a 2-part series, Dateline Pacific sits down with two such scientists to mull over the known and unknown risks of deepsea mining:
Douglas McCauley, a Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara and the Director of the Benioff Ocean Initiative.
Jeff Drazen is a Professor in the Oceanography department at the University of Hawaii.