The German Federation for Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND), member of Seas At Risk, called for a ban on deep sea mining together with several other German NGOs (PowerShift, Fair Oceans, Brot für die Welt, MISEREOR, Stiftung Asienhaus, Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung).
The ban was called for in the context of the International Conference on deep sea mining hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on December 13th , and in which BUND and Seas At Risk participated. Germany has already received exploration licenses for 85,000 km² of seabed in the Central Pacific and the Indian Ocean and during the conference the Ministry clearly expressed the intention to have a leadership role in the development of deep-sea mining.
The German NGOs fear that in the current race for marine resources, harms to the vulnerable deep sea habitats and ecosystems may be neglected. The knowledge of the deep sea ecology is far too scarce to estimate the risks of deep sea mining. The exploitation of unique habitats will lead to serious and irreparable loss. In addition to a ban of all mineral exploitation projects in the deep sea, the NGOs also called for alternative strategies to reduce raw material consumption, by enhancing recycling rates and developing smart and sustainable product design.
They also emphasised the importance to respect the human rights of the Pacific civil societies that are currently opposing seabed mining projects. Local communities see the Pacific as their ‘fluid continent’ and they oppose to their land and sea becoming an experimental field again as in the times of nuclear testing.