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Seafood Industry Concerned at Seabed Mining Proposal

Seafood Industry Concerned at Seabed Mining Proposal

The New Zealand seafood industry is concerned at the prospect of dumping 45 million tonnes of sediment into the sea each year, if Trans-Tasman Resources’ (TTR) application for seabed mining off Taranaki is approved.

Fisheries Inshore New Zealand says the huge volume of material, which is to be extracted and dumped back on the ocean floor, is putting the seabed ecosystem at risk, along with a seafood resource relied on by many New Zealanders.
Fisheries Inshore New Zealand Chief Executive Dr Jeremy Helson says many people may not appreciate how much 45 million tonnes of material actually is.

“The potential damage from this seabed mining proposal should be of grave concern to any kiwi that values the marine ecosystem; including recreational and customary fishers and anyone else who finds intrinsic value in a functional marine ecosystem” Dr Helson says.

“The marine environment is complex and marine life in it can be disrupted by even small changes. There are critical places where some species feed, spawn or where juveniles gather. They need the right conditions to thrive. There is huge uncertainty about the effect that the proposed sediment discharge may have.” he says.

Dr Helson says the seafood resource off our coasts is renewable, sustainable and has provided commercial and recreational opportunities for decades and a customary take for centuries. The seabed mining application has ignored or downplayed the threats to those fisheries and the marine ecosystem upon which they rely.

“TTR hasn’t scratched the surface of the science necessary to reassure the New Zealand public that their effect will be benign or manageable” Dr Helson says.

The seafood industry will present their evidence to the Decision-making Committee in Taranaki on Thursday this week (1 May eds)

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