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  • Writer's pictureNikola Simpson

A deep (and dark) conundrum....

Huge machines have been blindly sent down to the ocean floor scraping up everything in their path in search of metals to support the green transition while creating plumes of sediment spreading for miles, and emitting deafening noise to quiet treasure troves of biodiverse ecosystems. The year is 2026 - less than two years away and it is very likely that this could be a reality leading to disturbance or even removal of the sea floor, interruption of habitats and killing species - what could be a catastrophic eradication on a large scale.

 The deep sea riches: a vast, dark and remote ecosystem, a place of mystery and an expanse of discovery peak our curiosity. In order to shine a little light, the deep sea is the part of the ocean that is perpetually dark, an expanse of 103 million square miles in area accounting for over 95% of Earth’s living space and the largest ecosystem on the planet. As light begins to fade around 200m (650 ft), this “inner space”, a treasure of biodiversity, rich in living resources important in providing spawning and feeding for marine species, supporting fisheries, cycling nutrients and a key ally in regulating the climate through absorbing heat from the atmosphere and carbon sequestration, comes alive. Despite the harsh conditions - darkness, temperatures just about freezing, and crushing pressure, there is life - an astounding variety of creatures that boggle one’s mind. This untapped potential - of marine genetic resources and a place of historical, spiritual and cultural value is under threat. 

Although exploration has increased in recent years, we still know very little about the deep sea with much of this information just coming to light. In addition, there is not enough robust scientific knowledge and data available to help us make informed, evidence - based decisions on the environmental management of the deep sea. 

As the human population continues to deplete resources such as food, energy, pharmaceuticals and minerals on land, the rapid search for them in the ocean is underway. We are rushing at a dangerously fast pace to lose more parts of the planet before we even explore them. This potentially new extractive frontier in one of the most pristine parts of the planet could only dig us deeper into the hole that we are already in. We need to find, know, understand, measure and value in order to protect, conserve and restore the planet’s potentially last untouched wilderness. 

In order to help paint a bit more of the picture of the deep sea and provide a small glimpse into this ecosystem beyond our shores, we spoke with Kyle Foster, who is working tirelessly to #defendthedeep in the Caribbean and beyond. 

Stay tuned for the podcast with Kyle coming soon…

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