The project aims to develop policy recommendations for Hawai'i's stakeholders to ensure seabed mining is carefully monitored and to raise public awareness about the impacts of seabed mining on Hawai'i's near shore waters. We intend to bring together Hawaiian cultural practitioners, academics, representatives of U.S. and Hawai'i government agencies, international representatives, and community members to discuss impacts of seabed mining on Hawai'i's oceans and identify specific ways to mitigate those effects.
What is Seabed Mining?
Seabed mining is a mineral retrieval process that takes place on the ocean floor. The ocean floor is "swept" or "plowed." Sediment is collected and pumped into a vessel via a lift system. The sediment is shifted and minerals are extracted. The sediment is then pumped back into the ocean bottom.
What are the Environmental Impacts of Seabed Mining?
Scientists estimate that seabed mining will affect thousands of different species from fish to crustaceans that these impacts will be very long-lasting.
Why is this project important?
Seabed mining has long been seen in the state of Hawai'i as an under-utilized economic driver. As of 2014, at least one company is ready to begin seabed mining off the coast of Papua New Guinea. Closer to Hawai'i, mineral exploitation is active in the Clarion- Clipperton Fracture Zone, an area that begins approximately 500 miles south of Hawaii and runs to Mexico's coast.
Over the past year, KAHEA has heard growing concern from supporters over the prospect of seabed mining in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone and the potential adverse impacts that such operations could have on the seas closer to Hawai'i. Because this area is located in international waters, state and federal governments may not have the tools to regulate and monitor the use of ocean resources in this area. KAHEA, using its model of alliance-building, seeks to foster innovative ways to ensure that the natural resources of the region are preserved and ocean health maintained.