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Blue whale © Andrew Sutton

Norway agrees to deep sea mining that threatens ocean wildlife

Norway's parliament has voted to allow mineral exploration on the Arctic seabed despite objections from...

Norway agrees to deep sea mining that threatens ocean wildlife

Blue whale © Andrew Sutton

Norway's parliament has voted to allow mineral exploration on the Arctic seabed despite objections from environmental campaigners.

It aims to be first country to make deep-sea mining happen on a commercial scale despite it posing significant threats to ocean ecosystems and habitats, including deep-diving whales and dolphins.  The target area includes feeding grounds for many species of large (and endangered) baleen whales including blue, fin, humpback, minke, and potentially bowhead whales.

The mining can impact huge areas and will result in loud noise emissions from operations and associated vessels and equipment 24 hours a day, including from pumps, collection process, support vessels, slurry flow and other equipment. The noise generated will be distributed through the whole water column over a broad range of frequencies.

Loud underwater noise interrupts the normal behaviour of whales and dolphins, driving them away from areas important to their survival and at worst injuring or sometimes even causing their deaths.

The mining will also cause lasting and irreversible damage to fragile sea-bed ecosystems – including dispersal of the seabed sediment and loss of habitat. Slurry is also pumped to surface for processing and the deposit waste is put back into water, eventually settling on the seabed, with smothering impacts.

We recently joined the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) to fight against mining activity like this.

Learn more about pollution here. Please donate now to help our work to protect whales and dolphins.