April 5, 2023
Among the sea of lawyers and delegates at the International Seabed Authority’s council meeting in Jamaica this March was a handful of scientists who had gone to great lengths to be there. Their mission? To make sure that the incredible sensitivity and value of the deep-ocean environment is taken into account as the ISA drafts regulations for emerging interest in mining the deep sea for valuable minerals.
Beth Orcutt, a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, was among them.
“What’s at stake is the health of the ocean,” Orcutt said. “We can’t have healthy fisheries if we destroy the bottom of the seafloor. We can’t have climate regulation if we destroy the bottom of the seafloor. We can’t learn from the genetic novelty of the organisms to develop medicines and other applications if we destroy them.”