New seabed mining project threatens endangered whales and dolphins
Thursday, July 12: Greenpeace is shocked to discover that a new seabed mining exploration permit has been awarded inside a Marine Mammal Sanctuary, and is calling on the Government to reject all attempts to mine the seabed.
The exploration permit, awarded to Ironsands Offshore Mining Limited, sits within the West Coast North Island Marine Mammal Sanctuary off the Taranaki Coast. The sanctuary is inhabited by the critically endangered Māui dolphin, is frequented by rare Southern Right Whales, and is close to the newly discovered New Zealand population of endangered Blue Whales.
Greenpeace Executive Director Dr. Russel Norman says he is "gobsmacked" that prospecting for seabed mining could be allowed in such an area.
"The idea that New Zealand would allow seabed mining in a marine mammal sanctuary is absolutely absurd - it beggars belief," he says.
"As well as being a Māui dolphin habitat, this area is a winter shelter for Southern Right Whales. It’s a terrible irony that the next stop for the beloved ‘Wellington Whale’ could be the new site of a seabed mining operation."
"Pressure from overfishing, pollution, and a warming climate means whole ecosystems are threatened. We’re part of nature, not separate from it - ocean life has to be protected, because without it, life on Earth cannot continue. It’s that simple, and it starts with the areas we have already supposedly protected."
Greenpeace is calling on the Government to reject any applications for seabed mining, especially in marine mammal sanctuaries.