New Zealand

23
Sep
2019

Source: Scoop.nz
Author: Kiwis Against Seabed Mining

Wellington – 23 September 2019 — Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) and Greenpeace are in the Court of Appeal in Wellington this week, defending last year’s High Court ruling that quashed Trans-Tasman Resources’ (TTR) consent to mine the South Taranaki Bight seabed.

TTR is appealing the 2018 High Court decision that removed its consent to mine a 66 square kilometre area of the Bight for ironsands, which would involve digging up 50 million tonnes of the seabed a year for 35 years.

In granting its original consent, the Environmental Protection Agency set out 109 conditions, some of which amounted to “adaptive management” which KASM, Greenpeace and other parties argued to the High Court was unlawful, and Justice Churchman agreed.

This week the Court will hear TTR argue for mining to go ahead, and cross-appeals from KASM and Greenpeace, with the other parties, on a number of other issues the High Court decision rejected (see below).

Cindy Baxter, Chairperson of KASM, says this case is of utmost importance for preventing future seabed mining in New Zealand.

“This is a precedent-setting case, and it’s important to get the law as strong as possible, in order to protect our oceans from damage by future seabed miners. We cannot stress the importance of this case enough, in terms of the impact this destructive, untested industry could have on our ocean environment,” she said.

Jessica Desmond, campaigner at Greenpeace says it’s unacceptable the unique biodiversity of this region should be put at further risk from seabed mining.

“The South Taranaki Bight is home to Aotearoa’s own population of blue whales, the critically endangered Māui dolphin, blue penguins and other ocean taonga. These species are already under a multitude of threats from destructive fishing techniques, pollution and climate change, and this case is critical in protecting their home from damage by seabed mining.”

The case will be heard over three days between 24-26 September, and the two environmental organisations will be working alongside a range of other groups, including local iwi Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui, the trustees of Te Kaahui Rauru, Forest & Bird, the Taranaki-Whanganui Conservation Board, Te Ohu Kai Moana and a number of other fisheries interests.

The issues the two groups are cross-appealing include:

  • the application of the precautionary principle and international law;
  • the conduct of the hearing itself – including how the chairman of the EPA committee used his casting vote since there were four members, two of whom voted against granting consent;
  • the failure of the EPA to take economic costs as well as benefits into account;
  • the way the EPA dealt with issues around the effects of seabed mining crossing the boundary into the coastal marine area (within 12 miles from land); and
  • the failure to differentiate between a bond and public liability insurance

Timeline

Nov 2013: TTR applies to the EPA for a marine discharge consent for seabed mining
Mar 2014: EPA receives record number of submissions against any application in its history
Jun 2014: EPA refuses consent.
++++
Aug 2016: TTR re-applies for a marine discharge consent. Same area, same information.
Feb 2017: EPA hearings begin. Again, record submissions , again(13,700 against).
Aug 2017: EPA grants TTR consent
Apr 2018: KASM, Greenpeace et al appeal heard in the High Court
Aug 2018: High Court quashes TTR’s consent
Sep 2019: TTR takes case to Court of Appeal, other parties cross-appeal

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12
Jun
2019

Source: Stuff.co.nz

Forest and Bird are claiming recently released letters show Talley’s fishing co, along with other bottom trawling companies, lobbied against seabed protection in the South Pacific.

Forest and Bird released the information on the eve of Talley’s appearance in court on charges of illegal bottom trawling.

Continue reading Forest and Bird release letters, slam trawling companies over seabed protection

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23
May
2019

Source: Radio NZ
Author: Kate Gudsell

The petition was launched by environmental groups the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, ECO, Forest and Bird, Greenpeace, LegaSea and WWF-New Zealand as well as recreational fishers.

It is calling for the government to ban the destructive practice on seamounts, or submarine mountains, and other ecologically sensitive areas.

A recent report from NIWA on the impact of bottom trawling, concluded that the benthic communities on the seamounts had low resilience to the effects of bottom trawling.

It said New Zealand’s major deepwater fisheries occur on seamounts for a number of fish species, including orange roughy.

Continue reading here.

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7
Mar
2019

Source: Stuff.co.nz
Author: Charlie Mitchell

Trawlers hunting for fish in the dark, cold depths of the sea may be doing irreversible damage to vast coral reefs on the seafloor.

Findings from New Zealand researchers have some environmentalists pushing for a ban on bottom trawling, the primary method of catching deep sea fish, likening its impact on seabed wildlife to the destruction of kauri forests. 

Continue reading Bottom trawling for fish causing ‘permanent damage’ to deep sea forest

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28
Jan
2019

The Annual Meeting of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) today adopted a measure (regulation) for managing deep-sea fisheries on the high seas of the South Pacific. The regulation will allow New Zealand vessels to continue deep-sea bottom trawling on biodiversity hotspots on seamounts and deep mountain ridge systems on the high seas, putting large percentages of deepwater corals, related ecosystems, and rare species at risk in the Southwest Pacific and Tasman Sea.

At the same time, the meeting reviewed the activities of a New Zealand vessel, the Amaltal Apollo, caught repeatedly bottom trawling last year in an area closed by SPRFMO to protect deepwater corals. Pending the outcome of prosecution against the captain and company, scheduled to begin in February in Nelson, the SPRFMO meeting decided to keep the vessel on a draft list of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing vessels. New Zealand trawl vessels have dragged up many tonnes of corals and other vulnerable deep-sea habitat forming species over the past ten years of deep-sea fishing on seamounts on the high seas according to a report provided to SPRFMO by New Zealand in September of last year.

The United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly called on States and regional fisheries treaty organisations, such as SPRFMO, to prevent bottom trawl fishing in sensitive habitats and other areas of deep-sea biodiversity or else prohibit bottom trawl fishing. The UN’s 1st World Ocean Assessment in 2016, in reviewing the status of seamounts worldwide, expressed concern that “deepwater trawling has caused severe, widespread, long-term destruction of these environments globally”.

“We are very disappointed that SPRFMO member countries were convinced by New Zealand and Australia to adopt a deeply flawed regulation that will allow continued degradation and destruction of biologically rich and diverse ecosystems in the deep-sea from the Louisville Ridge in the western central South Pacific all the way across to the Tasman Sea” said Matthew Gianni, co-founder of the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition who attended the meeting. “And all of this to provide fishing opportunities for a handful of New Zealand bottom trawl vessels to catch 1,500 tonnes of orange roughy, a long-lived species of fish highly vulnerable to overfishing, on the high seas. This runs completely counter to resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly since 2006 and global negotiations to conserve and protect marine biodiversity in the international waters of the world’s oceans.”

As a result of concerns expressed by the European Union, the regulation will be reviewed by the next meeting of SPRFMO’s Scientific Committee to determine whether in fact it does provide protection to deep-sea biodiversity. “We are urging SPRFMO member countries to scrutinize this regulation much more carefully than they have done this week and ensure that at the next meeting of SPRFMO it is amended to ensure the protection of biologically rich and diverse deep-sea ecosystems”.


For further information contact:

Matthew Gianni, DSCC: +31 646 168 899

Duncan Currie, DSCC: +31 622 582 374

Note to editors:

UN 1st World Ocean Assessment, 2016. Chapter 51. Biological Communities on Seamounts and Other Submarine Features Potentially Threatened by Disturbance (page 15).

Download the press release

image © Mike Markovina

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5
Dec
2018

Source: Sputnik

Mining companies are increasingly coveting the seabed around the world in their thirst for minerals. Sputnik spoke to Duncan Currie, a political and legal adviser to the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, about attempts to stop mining off the coast of New Zealand.

Last month Sputnik reported on how the International Seabed Authority (ISA) was drawing up new rules on the exploitation of the seabed by deep sea mining companies as booming demand for cobalt, copper, nickel and manganese for the production of electric batteries was encouraging firms to see the ocean as a possible source of these minerals.

Continue reading We Don’t Know the Impact’: Conservationists Fight Attempts to Mine Ocean Floor

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8
May
2018

Source: New Zealand Herald
Author: New Zealand Herald Editorial

The news that Niwa scientists are going to make a proper investigation of the environmental impact of seabed mining will be welcomed by both sides of this debate. New Zealand sits atop a large continental shelf stretching to the limits of its exclusive economic zone and apart from drilling for oil and gas we have barely scratched the surface of its potential mineral resources.

Continue reading Editorial: Niwa’s study of seabed mining risks will be useful – New Zealand Herald

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