New guidelines have been developed by international researchers to protect sea life from mining. The criteria — published in Science Advances — is designed to identify areas of environmental importance, where mining should be prohibited.
There are 18 recommended metrics, which can be used by regulators to determine whether the number, shapes, sizes and locations of sites within a proposed “no-mining zone” network will effectively protect the surrounding habitats and species.
The study focused on future deep-sea mining scenarios on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, but can be adapted for use in other locations. It also considers future changes that might occur on the seafloor within the next century.
For years, marine biologists have tried to assess the impact of seabed mining on the marine ecosystem, but haven’t reached a consensus.
The MIDAS project, comprised of 32 partners across Europe, seeks to further investigate the possible damage that deep-sea mining may have on aquatic life.
The data collected will help inform regulators about the potential dangers and what measures may be taken to prevent them.