Indigenous advocates sign petition for a total ban on deep sea mining

Indigenous activists have made it clear that they do not give their consent to deep sea mining.

More than one thousand signatures from 34 countries and 56 indigenous groups are calling for a total ban on this industry. 

The 28th Session of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) meeting resumed discussions in Kingston over a week ago, where delegates had to decide whether to give course to the first commercial plan to mine the seabed which could begin operations as early as this year.

PMN News reports the activists are challenging governments and the International Seabed Authority to enact a ban on Deep Sea Mining effective immediately.

Pacific activists from New Zealand, Cook Islands, Tahiti, and Hawaii arrived in Kingston onboard the Greenpeace ship, Arctic Sunrise.

They have been campaigning on deep sea mining but have not previously been given a platform at the ISA meeting to express their views despite the significant impact the decision could have on shaping their future. They were joined in the ISA meetings by fellow activists from Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

Hawaiian indigenous speaker and activist Solomon Kaho’ohalahala, offered the delegates a traditional chant and explained that in his culture’s genealogy all life comes from the deep sea: “the ocean is our country and we come from the deepest depths of the seas.”

Hirano Murphy from Blue Climate Initiative and Te Atiaroa Society, asked governments to promote a ban on mining exploitation in the oceans with immediate effect.

The talks in Kingston come shortly after the Global Oceans Treaty that provides a mechanism to protect 30 percent of the ocean by 2030.

The petition was presented to the ISA, where Indigenous activists made it clear that for millennia Pacific people have lived in a relationship with the natural world that is defined by respect, gratitude, and responsibility.


Photo: Greenpeace  Caption: Pacific Activists along with Greenpeace Aotearoa Campaign team onboard the Arctic Sunrise. From Left to Right: Alanna Smith, Aden Morunga, Uncle Sol, Quack Taylor Fletcher, James Hita, Oren Oaariki.