Potential Mitigation and Restoration Actions in Ecosystems Impacted by Seabed Mining

Type Article
Date 2018-12
Language English
Author(s) Cuvelier Daphne1, 2, Gollner Sabine3, 4, Jones Daniel Ob5, Kaiser Stefanie6, 7, Arbizu Pedro Martinez6, Menzel Lena6, Mestre Nelia C.8, Morato Telmo1, 2, Pham Christopher1, 2, Pradillon FlorenceORCID9, Purser Autun10, Raschka Uwe6, Sarrazin JozeeORCID9, Simon-Lledo Erik5, Stewart Ian M.11, Stuckas Heiko6, Sweetman Andrew K.12, Colaco Ana1, 2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Inst MAR, Horta, Portugal.
2 : Marine & Environm Sci Ctr, Horta, Portugal.
3 : Royal Netherlands Inst Sea Res, Dept Ocean Syst, Den Burg, Netherlands.
4 : Univ Utrecht, Den Burg, Netherlands.
5 : Natl Oceanog Ctr, Southampton, Hants, England.
6 : Dept German Ctr Marine Biodivers Res, Senckenberg Meer, Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
7 : Univ Hamburg, Ctr Nat Hist CeNak, Zool Museum, Hamburg, Germany.
8 : Univ Algarve, Ctr Marine & Environm Res, Faro, Portugal.
9 : IFREMER, Lab Environm Profond, REM EEP, Plouzane, France.
10 : Helmholtz Ctr Polar & Marine Res, Alfred Wegener Inst, Bremerhaven, Germany.
11 : Heriot Watt Univ, Fugro, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland.
12 : Heriot Watt Univ, Lyell Ctr Earth & Marine Sci & Technol, Marine Benth Ecol Biogeochem & In Situ Technol Re, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland.
Source Frontiers In Marine Science (2296-7745) (Frontiers Media Sa), 2018-12 , Vol. 5 , N. 467 , P. 22p.
DOI 10.3389/fmars.2018.00467
WOS© Times Cited 31
Keyword(s) deep sea, mining, restoration, mitigation, impacts, assisted recovery, (re-)colonisation

Mining impacts will affect local populations to different degrees. Impacts range from removal of habitats and possible energy sources to pollution and smaller-scale alterations in local habitats that, depending on the degree of disturbance, can lead to extinction of local communities. While there is a shortage or even lack of studies investigating impacts that resemble those caused by actual mining activity, the information available on the potential long-lasting impacts of seabed mining emphasise the need for effective environmental management plans. These plans should include efforts to mitigate deep-sea mining impact such as avoidance, minimisation and potentially restoration actions, to maintain or encourage reinstatement of a resilient ecosystem. A wide range of mitigation and restoration actions for deep-sea ecosystems at risk were addressed. From an ecological point of view, the designation of set-aside areas (refuges) is of utmost importance as it appears to be the most comprehensive and precautionary approach, both for well-known and lesser studied areas. Other actions range from the deployment of artificial substrates to enhance faunal colonisation and survival to habitat recreation, artificial eutrophication, but also spatial and temporal management of mining operations, as well as optimising mining machine construction to minimise plume size on the sea floor, toxicity of the return plume and sediment compression. No single action will suffice to allow an ecosystem to recover, instead combined mitigation/restoration actions need to be considered, which will depend on the specific characteristics of the different mining habitats and the resources hosted (polymetallic sulphides, polymetallic nodules and cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts). However, there is a lack of practical experience regarding mitigation and restoration actions following mining impacts, which severely hamper their predictability and estimation of their possible effect and success. We propose an extensive list of actions that could be considered as recommendations for best environmental practice. The list is not restricted and, depending on the characteristics of the site, additional actions can be considered. For all actions presented here, further research is necessary to fully encompass their potential and contribution to possible mitigation or restoration of the ecosystem.

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Cuvelier Daphne, Gollner Sabine, Jones Daniel Ob, Kaiser Stefanie, Arbizu Pedro Martinez, Menzel Lena, Mestre Nelia C., Morato Telmo, Pham Christopher, Pradillon Florence, Purser Autun, Raschka Uwe, Sarrazin Jozee, Simon-Lledo Erik, Stewart Ian M., Stuckas Heiko, Sweetman Andrew K., Colaco Ana (2018). Potential Mitigation and Restoration Actions in Ecosystems Impacted by Seabed Mining. Frontiers In Marine Science, 5(467), 22p. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2018.00467 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00470/58209/