How humans are exploiting the oceans | DW Documentary

How humans are exploiting the oceans | DW Documentary

What would be the consequences of industrial exploitation of the ocean floor? A deep-sea expedition in the Pacific explores this question. Raw materials have been mined on land for thousands of years, often with negative consequences for nature and people.

Deep down in the ocean, valuable raw materials are stored en masse: manganese, nickel, cobalt, copper. Many of these materials are currently in great demand. Technically, it is possible to harvest manganese nodules, for example, in the deep sea. But should we do it? Even among the researchers aboard the “Island Pride,” opinions differ. They are part of a deep-sea expedition to research the possible effects of harvesting raw materials on the ocean floor. What will be the consequences if humans exploit these valuable deposits? Will it destroy the fragile underwater environment?
Reporter Michael Stocks and his cameraman spent weeks aboard the ship, on which scientists are monitoring the deployment of a giant underwater harvesting machine on the ocean floor. Humans are dredging the sand from beaches, overfishing fish stocks worldwide – is the seabed now to be industrially exploited as well?

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Foreign an ambitious Expedition has set out to explore the deep sea going where no human has ever gone before where enormous deposits of minerals lie dormant can Humanity benefit from this untapped source of wealth the technology to harvest it already exists First prototype of a deep sea collector for the treasured Stones is called patanya it’s being tested at a depth of several thousand meters scientists are monitoring its deployment because what is technically feasible may actually destroy a delicate underwater world is it worth the risk these are basically batteries in stone

Form this is exactly what you need to build a battery there’s manganese nickel Cobalt and copper to conduct the electricity Environmental Protection organizations such as Greenpeace want to prevent deep sea mining at all costs It’s the last part of the planet that humans have yet to exploit for resources are the oceans in danger thank you Making peace with nature is a defining task of this century preserving and restoring the ocean’s ability to nurture humanity and regret our climate will be the defining challenges of these packets 71 of the earth’s surface is covered by oceans the largest habitat on the planet foreign serve as an important heat buffer and carbon sink they absorb about a quarter of man-made CO2 emissions and thus mitigate the effects of climate change Planet earth needs the oceans to survive they regulate the climate they provide food they provide the oxygen we breathe more than 50 of it by the way but the world’s oceans are suffering they’re ruthlessly being fished bare the waste produced by an increasingly affluent society is becoming more prevalent in the water

Virtually indestructible plastic waste endangers animals and their habitat so-called ocean dead zones are getting ever larger climate change is also causing sea levels to rise nevertheless its exploitation continues sand and gravel are being dredged for use as building materials at this point where we’ve lost 50

Percent of our ocean 50 of the whales and the fish that lived in the ocean when my grandfather first started scuba diving after the second World War had disappeared now we’re exploring barely researched places that are still quite inaccessible we know almost nothing of the plant and animal species living there Yeah we’re aware there are resource-rich nodules on the seabed they’re made of cobalt nickel manganese and copper just the materials to meet the rapidly growing demand for Batteries as the world shifts away from fossil fuels getting medals from our planet can’t be done without any environmental impact so

What we need to be thinking about is how do we make decisions that cause least harm to the planet that we’re trying to protect in June 2021 the United Nations in New York was focusing attention on the highly threatened Marine habitat the UN proclaimed an ocean decade to advance the protection and sustainable

Development of the world’s oceans these challenges should be top priorities for everyone everywhere welcome to the United decade of ocean science together let us discover the science we need for the ocean we want thank you In March 2021 in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic a special ship was docked at the U.S Pacific fleet’s naval base in San Diego The Vessel the island Pride Was preparing to go to Sea its crew and accompanying European scientists were going on a special mission As part of the mining IMPACT program the researchers were heading out to examine what happens on the seabed during the world’s first tests of a 35-ton underwater harvesting machine called a poly metallic or manganese nodule collector it’s a big project we want to analyze the environmental impact of a manganese

Nodule collector working in the deep sea we have quite a few scientific groups on board here this is the first test of its kind and we’re really close to the conditions you might expect from a deep sea mining operation it’s very important for the environmental analyzes parameters and

Standards that need to be developed that’s what we’re doing together with so many great scientific groups here a concentration of Europe’s scientific Talent actually we have all the technologies that Marine research institutes offer we’ve got all sorts of equipment here all very high-tech yes I’m really looking forward

To it now that it’s finally getting underway all kinds of measuring and testing equipment were used during this Expedition including this giant Bobo Lander which has already been in service for 25 years the landing gear that’s that’s right but then not for the moon but for landing on the seabed

Um so very much like that we will drop it from the ship and mount it with some different kind of sensors and then it goes in threefold to four kilometers depth and then make a quiet landing on the seabed If you want to know what’s the impact is of deep sea mining which is a concern to many people also to myself I think we need good observations observations down there close to where this mining is going to happen um so that we know better that we can

Better predict what the impact will be researchers want to investigate first while industry is ready to dig this advertisement for the Canadian mining Enterprise the metals company promises a simple solution energy from the Sun and wind is replacing fossil fuels to power the transition to a sustainable future

We need batteries to store this energy batteries are made from Metals such as Cobalt nickel copper and manganese until now we’ve been mining the Earth for them digging deeper and wider for lower quality oars nature disappears humans suffer Earth suffers but there’s another way all that’s needed are modern robots but

Is it that simple the Canadian city of Toronto is where Samantha Smith lives she’s the head of sustainability for the Belgian Mining Company GSR their manganese nodule collector is undergoing a series of tests in the Pacific we are together globally we are facing a climate crisis and I think

You know there is this increasing recognition around the world that we need to do something and we need to do something now um that a big part of that is moving towards clean energy so moving away from from fossil fuels and what that means is that we’re moving away from a planet

Fueled on fossil fuels to one that is built on metals and minerals because clean metal technology is so metal intensive so far these raw materials have come from mines on land located primarily in Asia and Africa the work is often destructive and harmful to Nature the mines are often located in politically

Unstable countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo where there’s not much respect for human rights the workers often suffer horrendous working conditions risking their lives digging metals that fetch prices far greater than the wages they earn industry says getting resources from the seabed will be far easier

We have options about where those metals can come from and we’re exploring one which is going to the seafloor for them and there’s a lot of reasons why going to the sea floor intuitively seems to make some sense and one is we don’t need to remove forests and in some cases tropical

Rainforests are being removed to get to Nickel we don’t need to remove forests or a single tree to get to the metal that’s on the sea floor nor do we need to move mountains to get to the ore body and people don’t need to be relocated so

Right away those those reasons make a lot of sense of course that doesn’t mean that we can just dive to the deep sea and and not do it thoughtfully we also have to get the research done so that we understand how to proceed while minimizing our environmental footprint

Can there be deep sea resource collection without causing new environmental problems the island Pride departed from San Diego for a six-week expedition to find out expectations were high is our mission is to investigate the environmental impact of all this we know a lot about this Marine habitat it’s

Ecology the animals that live there but not necessarily what the impact will be when big equipment and machines are driving around on the seabad Our objective is simply to observe analyze and neutrally take measurements so we can present these findings to the public in a scientifically balanced way science Industry and policy makers all watched the Expedition closely the findings could have far-reaching consequences as humans move towards the age of Green Technology foreign

The crew and researchers waved farewell as the San Diego Skyline receded the boat went off into the night off to where some countries and companies would like to develop new sources for raw materials as quickly as possible to make the ocean a source of mineral resources Cape verde’s 10 Islands are located around 600 kilometers off the West African Coast The country has half a million inhabitants most of them descended from former African slaves once a colony of Portugal it gained independence in 1975. Even though Cape Verde is considered one of the most prosperous countries in Africa there’s still a lot of poverty for many the sea is the source of life but a look at the coastline in some places indicates something is wrong here where there were once sandy beaches and now only stones Organization lantuna she also takes people on tours Chair has been mercilessly exploited here the women watch a truck go by loaded with sand from the shore well this truck just bought sand and it will resell to someone else so they come here take the sand and then sell it to the market it’s like a small

Business it’s not a really big company so there are several trucks it’s not just only one truck and as you see the beach doesn’t have too much sand anymore so the little that there still exists it will be sold it is against the law it’s forbidden to

Take the sand but the surveillance is very weak that’s the big problem it’s not allowed to take its sand although there is not surveillance here but it could be controlled on the road but no one does it really good the two conservationists look on stunned to see how these people are illegally

Stripping sand from beneath their feet another truck is loaded this time with sand taken from the seabed days ago the sand is sold as raw material for the construction industry for years this back-breaking job has been the only way for people like Maria to earn a little money It’s very exhausting and tiring sometimes there’s even a danger of drowning we stand in the water like this it’s dangerous but if we don’t do this there is no other way for us to earn money foreign the conservationists seek dialogue was a Sandy Beach covered with Dunes nothing of that remains today

Anna says the people digging up the sand know what they’re doing here isn’t right I’ve asked her how much they earn to do this kind of job and I was shocked because each truck it is around 30 to 40 euros and if they are desperate to sell

Even 25 Euros they sell and the driver will sell it around 120 euros I even asked if they would like to change their job to do something else they said yes if there is opportunity sand has been taken from the Seas for years beaches are disappearing and not just in Cape Verde

Sand is gathered in small bouts or with enormous industrial ships from many oceans the impacts are devastating scientists and conservationists have long warned of degradation of habitats we are consumed directly or indirectly sound or gravel that comes from the oceans this is also a very big problem in the construction industry worldwide because

So much sand and gravel are being taken from beaches including right off the coasts that entire ecosystems are now changing biodiversity is suffering and entire structures are being eroded and last but not least organized mafia-like groupings are at work behind the scenes people are forced to transport sand

Illegally entire islands are now almost free of sand in order it must be said to enable a construction boom in the globalized affluent West which it actually have no future at all in this day and age so this is an issue that is causing major problems in our seas at the moment

But hardly anyone knows that is in India Africa and all over the world even in the North Sea sand is being dredged from seabeds descriptions of Sandy seashores no longer ring true Sand typically makes up around one third of concrete gigantic buildings in desert countries are also made of sand from the sea because desert sand is unsuitable for building even the sand for Prestige projects such as the artificial Islands of Dubai comes from the sea Over exploitation has fatal consequences for coastal areas microorganisms and habitats all over the world meanwhile the island pride has headed for an area of ocean known as the Clarion clipperton zone between Mexico and Hawaii hear enormous quantities of polymetallic nodules an estimated 30 billion tons lie on the sea floor

It takes almost six days for the island Pride to reach its destination these devices held the keys to the expedition’s success everything had to work the tension was palpable the researchers played music to help themselves relax this is what’s called a deep sea Lander and inside is a module like this Optical

Measuring devices or mini electrodes are connected to it they are these rods that we see here there’s a very small tip that optically measures the oxygen content in the sediment so the whole thing is lowered to the sea floor and then there is a motor on it that’s programmed beforehand

And we then use it to drive these rods into the sediment and measure how much oxygen is there really high tech right yeah yes definitely it’s a challenge for any device conditions are extreme kilometers below the surface yes it’s just turned out that what we want to measure oxygen levels on the sea

Floor and their distribution produce different results when you bring them up on deck and oxygen is something as we know ourselves That’s essential many organisms use oxygen and we see that as an indicator of how much the system is Disturbed if you disturb the substrate a lot or

Remove it completely you’re taking away a layer that’s been deposited over many thousands of years where active processes take place you’ve either stirred it up or gotten rid of it so you already have a chance to see now from the measurements does that have an effect or does it look exactly the same

As it did before the island pride has made its way to the Belgian license area this is where it was due to join the ship belonging to the Belgian Mining Company GSR the boat was there to test patania the world’s first machine prototype for collecting manganese nodules

There are a lot of Manganese nodules here you can see on the map where the marked license areas of the international seabed Authority from manganese nodules are at the moment these are all exploration license areas where companies or countries of acquired licenses and are looking to see how many

Manganese nodules are located there and which parts of the area can be mined now we are going to the Belgian license area Whose license is held by the company GSR and then in two weeks we’ll go to the German license area which is a bit Southwest of there

Gsr’s person of contact for suash Ali was also on board he was responsible for communication between the industrial vessel and the scientists as the tests began in the Belgian license area it’s all a bit like the wild west areas are marked out on the seabed that certain Nations or companies are allowed

To explore such as the Belgian company GSR here they were already in the working area this meeting was taking place on the high seas on the loading platform of the Normand energy stood patanya able to dive to a depth of several thousand meters Um its first dive was being prepared the technical challenge was formidable the device had to manage the extreme pressure and maneuver the programmed routes independently connected to the ship by a supply line only as thick as a human arm GSR had been developing the petania over many years this smaller model was built a few years ago now patania 2 was to face its first real test if it passed with flying colors The Vessel could possibly become a method for commercial seabed mining in the future so Britannia 2 is a seafloor nodule

Collector and I think the easiest way to picture it is to think of a vacuum cleaner so the vehicle’s been designed to pick up nodules and leave as much sediment behind as possible and then bring them basically collect them and eventually that vehicle will be collected to a

Riser which will bring the nodules to the surface but Britannia 2 was designed to collect the nodules and initially collected them in a bin at the back of the vehicle and then those nodules were deposited away from the vehicle’s tracks at other points in the trial Britannia was lowered several times into

The deep sea to test this new technology it looks like something out of a science fiction movie meanwhile on the island Pride Francois stayed in touch with his GSR colleagues on the industrial ship and was briefed how to use the manganese nodule collector for the upcoming dive

So as the survey is quite uh shocked he had to pass this information on to the scientists so that their sensitive underwater measuring instruments would not collide with patanya now with patanya manganese nodule mining in the deep sea is technically feasible but questions still remained how great

Are the environmental risks and are they worth taking Back in Cape Verde on the largest island of Santiago some of the former sandy beaches are now just Barren stones all of the sand has been gathered up and sold Stones mixed with garbage dominate The Bays this idyllic Marine scene has been severely damaged The world’s third largest population of loggerhead sea turtles lives around Cape Verde today the animal is on the red list of endangered species it’s strictly protected but the removal of the sand disturbs habitat vital for their reproduction Ana Vega and her conservation organization are committed to protecting the turtles

For Anna it’s shocking to see a female struggling over the hot stones and finding no place to lay her eggs yes it used to be a Sandy Beach but I didn’t knew this place before I’ve just heard from from older people and locals who described the place as a sandy beach

Before Turtles returned to the beach where they hatched to lay their eggs usually it takes 20 years for the animals to reach sexual maturity but much has changed in two decades yes we are very pretty sad story because the city tried to Nest here but there is

No sand so it came out but unfortunately it has to return to the Sea came this morning obviously yes seven am PS it’s really really sad because an animal that has borne around here maybe spent 20 years more try to nest and when it came out the his let’s say his house is

Been completely destroyed by human beings so this is really sad so I think we have a duty here try to restore this place in order to promote the sea turtle conservation Anna has a degree in Marine Biology she spent time abroad and realized that something must urgently be done in her

Home country to protect the oceans and nature she founded the nature conservation organization lantuna right here in 2013 but now dozens of helpers are working on projects on the beaches things are really taking off if we want the conservation to be successful we need to involve locals so

We try to get them involved to create them to have like a passion for the nature for the species and it’s right concern at the beginning it was more difficult but now it’s easier and every times easier because we start to have trusts of the community they participate

And also we try to improve their livelihoods lantuna’s approach is simple financed by donations Anna tries to generate awareness by adding a bit of color for example Is the name of this fishing Village on the bayador infano hells Bay the fishing boats are beached on Stones the sand long shipped away foreign awareness activities regarding the fishing and seabirds and the locals they like it and we saw it it has a positive way of make people more aware about the

Nature conservation so we started doing the paintings about the local biodiversity and we didn’t stop yet so we plan to do more paintings to go over the village with beautiful painting to attract more people and so the locals can associate this visit with ecotourism activities now ocean flora and fauna decorate the

Facades of the houses they’re a constant reminder of the importance of preservation And this famous Marine Explorer plays an important role in 1948 with two other colleagues Theodore and August Pika so they came here to test an equipment they wanted the equipment to do some recorded in a very deep notion so we decided to bring back this memory that was almost lost

Because the majority of the locals didn’t even know who was Jack Stone and if he he was around here Jacques Cousteau was a legendary ocean Explorer French diving Pioneer and documentary filmmaker introduced people to the underwater world like no other He brought images of the depths never seen before into the world’s living rooms Cousteau wanted to explore the unknown World Under the Sea and called for the oceans to be protected foreign This is the French Atlantic Coast not far from the mouth of the Loire River the granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau and her family live nearby after her father’s early death Alexandra Cousteau spent almost her entire childhood with her grandfather that left its Mark she’s very concerned about the state of the oceans

I think if we continue with business as usual where we’re overfishing we’re polluting we are advancing with ideas like deep sea mining we’re going to see our oceans disappear and we’ll continue to see a decline and at a certain point you reach tipping points where you have exponential loss

And that’s hard to come back from you can’t really come back from exponential loss like we can’t put covid back in a bottle you know the the damage is done once we reach those tipping points with the ocean the damage will be done we won’t be able to reverse it

Alexandra says that her grandfather taught her to dive before she could walk her love of the oceans is his legacy like him she makes documentaries advocates for the preservation of marine environments and looks for ways to save the oceans she wishes she still had her grandfather

At her side in addition to her husband who’s there now my grandfather passed away 20 years ago and left a huge void in the world not just for me and my family but I think it felt like there was this huge Jacques Cousteau shaped hole in the universe after he died

That no one can fill but what I realized is that every time someone tells me I grew up watching your grandfather he really inspired me I love the ocean now and I want to do something to help protect it we are finally at a point in time where we can

Maybe 10 years ago 20 years ago we weren’t we didn’t have the Technologies we didn’t have the solutions we didn’t have the urgency that we have today and so my hope is that for everyone who loved him and loved his films and loved exploring the oceans with him and that

Discovery and sense of awe and wonder that he brought My Hope Is that they will harness that and use it to create change because that is the best Legacy he could possibly have left us On the Cape Verde Islands Anna and her group of helpers have built a protection area for turtle clutches on one of the remaining sandy beaches educational signs show passes by the importance of the oceans and the life in them This is where the turtles lay their eggs for weeks lantuna watches over the clutches of eggs that have been collected here the organization ensures the baby turtles can hatch safely we are checking uh which nests red hatch because this is a hatchery where we put

The nest they are on Risk by now we have 1047 Nest here so the team were checking if they are about to hatch all right through the conservation we create opportunities for people to have a job so that they can earn some money for their families and also try to create

Them to have this passion for nature conservation small steps but they make a difference Jacques Cousteau would likely be happy to see these efforts to conserve Marine wildlife foreign Stretch beyond the island Pride’s helicopter platform here stood two lonely ships in the Belgian license area in the Clarion clipperton Zone in the Pacific Ocean from the deck some of the European scientists watched as the Belgian company GSR piloted its deep diving high-tech machine from its ship the Normand energy Now the research has many measuring instruments and sensors and robots known as rovs were coming into play lowered four and a half kilometers down into the depths they were positioned around the deployment area on the seabed where patania was making its way the scientists wanted to know the impact

That Britannia would have on nature the control room is located on one of the lower decks of the island Pride here the pilots were sitting staring at their monitors for hours as they controlled the robots on the deep sea floor overwhelming feeling of being have been a different world

Of course it actually is a corner of the world that we barely know and everything we’re seeing here nobody else has seen before so naturally that’s always exciting all right yeah scientific history was being made at that moment four and a half thousand meters below the ship extremely important research was taking place

Under extreme conditions we’re now in the process of deploying many sensors oceanographic sensors turbidity sensors and current sensors on the sea floor These were brought down in the huge subsea basket last night and they’re now with the two rovs remotely operated vehicles that are now moving along the seabed the sensors are being taken out now and positioned along the seabed at various locations hopefully when patania gets to work they

Will measure the sediment Cloud it creates as well oh foreign greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior was approaching the Norman energy the scientists were slightly unnerved everyone was wondering what would happen we have information about this happening not that much except to say that the mechanic action so hopefully it’s peaceful one thank you

Maybe since next uh the only thing Greenpeace has emphasized is that it’s peaceful a peaceful protest we can only hope that’s what’s going on um obviously we’re not the target that’s for sure as soon as we moved away a little bit they raced away we don’t know what they’re doing

Something is happening on the starboard side and unfortunately we can’t see it foreign peace activists filmed and documented their actions themselves they approached the industrial ship and painted risk on its side it was a protest operation on the high seas the Environmental Protection Organization relies on striking images

And messages in many languages to Galvanize support Greenpeace considers the commercial exploitation of the deep sea to be a fatal misstep is there an absolute vibration it would be an absolute crime to assume that the deep sea is a Barren desert where you can do a bit of digging from

Manganese nodules and other oars without having any impact on this planet that’s what people would like to tell you and I don’t think the general public is aware that the deepsea is teeming with life the companies involved in deep sea mining aren’t necessarily interested in revealing the damage that’s taking place down there

Including in the long term and which animals and ultimately plants such as Plankton are being affected it’s already been proven that CO2 has been bound in the sediments deposited on the deep sea for many thousands of years that means carbon that originally came from the atmosphere if we disturb and stir up these

Sediments then there is definitely a risk that this CO2 this carbon that is currently sequestered down there could also be released back into the water and ultimately into the atmosphere foreign pieces Rainbow Warrior tracked the Normand energy for weeks with the aim of producing images to generate support

Let’s make the point right now we want to make sure the oceans continue to have the possibility in the next years the next Millennia to be climate resilient something they can’t be if we start digging and destroying the deep sea floor not just taking out rocks oars and

Metals but also the biology the life forms and destroying their habitat because all of this is involved in the climate stability of our oceans and our planet a meeting was held in the conference room on the island Pride the occasion Greenpeace had issued an invitation to a worldwide International video conference

I use the social the ngo’s objective was to prevent possible deep sea mining it reported on its concerns giving arguments why disrupting The Depths must be stopped at all costs before it really gets underway happen before we could ever say they also took a swipe at the scientists who

Were then researching the effects such an intervention would have Greenpeace said it wasn’t genuine science is being done is the right science [Laughter] That outraged the scientists they said they would continue to carry out neutral research in order to ultimately provide data and findings that are also used by Environmental Protection organizations some of the researchers showed understanding for the protest on the high seas and the concerns of the Environmental Protection Organization this is

A very sensitive issue and everyone has the right to be concerned and also to protest of course we all try to be very neutral in our analysis and that’s certainly correct but there’s always the question of what the science is used for deciding that isn’t our job

That will be done by the policy makers will have to develop the regulations what we’re trying to do here is record what could potentially happen if a device like that were to drive around on the seafloor located in the middle of the Caribbean Sea the island country Jamaica is home

To the institution that will decide whether deep sea mining is permissible The international seabed Authority or Isa for short has its headquarters here founded in 1994 by the United Nations it’s the overarching body that decides what happens beneath the waves so all the ISA contractors which are a combination of different entities and my governments some private sector some are State research organizations

All of them have in view eventually the sustainable exploitation of deep sea mineral resources Isa must proceed on the basis of two fundamental conditions one is that we act on the basis of the best available scientific advice through extensive consultation and the second is that we act on the basis of consensus amongst

The member states that make the decisions that’s currently 167 countries including Germany they developed the guidelines known as the mining code according to which deep sea mining would be possible we have a very unique opportunity here that actually has never been done before which is that

We have a whole new industry that will proceed only when regulations have been put in place usually it’s the other way around industry starts and then people start to react by trying to find a way to regulate it or to stop bad things from happening or to ensure that

Good things happen here it’s completely the other way around we will we have an opportunity to get it right before we even start which is uh unprecedented actually and it’s a it’s a really great opportunity so really it’s a it’s a very highly transparent organization where everybody

Has an opportunity to have their say and provide input into this emerging new industry so this is where the decision is to be made taking into account the interests of Industry the findings of Science and the concerns of Environmental Protection organizations nature conservation versus a billion dollar business who’ll win in the end

The island Pride was sent out to work in the Clarion clipperton Zone it’s an area the size of Europe more than 30 billion tons of Manganese nodules are said to lie on the ocean floor here it’s an enormous treasure and there is no way retrieving it will happen without

Disturbing the deep sea floor These are the results of patania’s work The heavy machine has stirred up large plumes of sediment what does this mean for the environment yes the one we see here is the manganese nodule habitat next to the tracks of patania where the Disturbed sediment has already settled it’s completely covered the manganese nodules and fauna and uh

And what we want to find out now is that what thickness the sediment does negative permanent damage and what thickness the fauna can possibly tolerate It looks as if a snowstorm had passed over the landscape and covered everything in its way the measuring devices then needed to be brought up to deck for evaluation a process that took many hours The researchers were eager to see what had been brought up even though the results of the analyzes would likely remain unknown for months until they were fully assessed in the Laboratories of the institutes in Europe First we’ve got to rinse them because salt water is very corrosive to the electrical components then we’ll download the data and take a look these are the manganese nodules and you can see that they were actually covered with deposited sediment but because the water is now sloshing back and forth

Here the sediment just washes away but it doesn’t matter because we have to free the nodules from the sediment anyway in order to collect the animals that live on them you see when you cut the manganese nodule open there’s a core material around which it forms the nodule is made

Up of metal oxides manganese oxides and then there’s copper and nickel and Cobalt in it as well as traces of other metals and that slowly builds up around the core material that is such a nodule with a radius of around four centimeters would be close to 2 million years old

So the nodules are pre-historic stones and much of the deep sea fauna in the Clarion clipperton zone are still unknown yeah to have a big sample of a sea ocean it’s the first time that we have a was here turn in the boxcar so that’s nice and it’s in a good shape so

It’s taste we’re gonna have a good analysis with that the biologists and geologists meticulously examined their soil sample from the deep sea for them it’s a real treasure that’s not just modern it’s done as you can imagine because that’s a very big view of our heritage so that’s amazing

And there is a lot of Life inside that you cannot see that just by your eyes you need a microscope the French scientist loves looking at the microfauna from the deep sea in fact she found several tiny animals and was delighted with every single one reading or winter storms foreign

Tests were being carried out in the Laboratories as well as here in the cold room everything that had come from the depths was analyzed in detail studying the structure and activity of microbial communities in the sediment samples is the work of Turkish researcher batuhan yapan Without them they are generally unfortunately bad for nature and in the end for us but this time we are so excited because we need those resources it looks so because we consume a lot and this time we will see impacts and maybe this time we can restrain our impact on nature and

Use those resources in more sustainable and environmental friendly personally I would rather choose consume less and I don’t buy telephone every two years for example so I would prefer to reduce if possible reuse and recycle in the end and not touch the sea floor as much as

Possible but yeah we will need it it looks so Yes Tanya stratman has taken her seat in the control room as a biologist she was getting the chance to search the deep sea floor for larger animals working with the robot Pilots a shrimp Drifting by didn’t arouse much interest at first We’ve got a specific list of animals that we should gather first we still have about an hour to hopefully find a few more starfish and a few sea anemones we’ll take them too suck them up just like a vacuum cleaner something’s happening over there this is a sponge I think

No I think we will just trust it if we try to try to suck it in yes you can I mean that’s a perfect idea we can try to have it in a net Tanya had her eye on the sea anemone The robot found some other animals on flatter seabed they looked strange it’s amazing that animals can live here at all where the pressure is many hundreds of times higher than at the Earth’s surface A large sea cucumber was cited the robot sampling vacuum packed it away Foreign And then the robot found an unusually large starfish it too landed in the sample bucket destined to find its way on Deck Hours later the robot had finished its search on the seabed and was brought back up Along with it came the collection of animals the biologist was quite excited This is really beautiful this is daima I’m happy about the sea cucumber even though I am probably the only one now the sea cucumber goes into the cold room so that my colleague can dissect it tomorrow morning is it still alive no I don’t think they can handle a pressure difference and especially the temperature difference of

Over 20 degrees they die on the way up It was a special moment for the other scientists too they were thrilled to hold these life forms from the depths so close to them I like it it’s beautiful it’s yeah it’s strange it’s weird it’s a larger world that in other worlds Tanya stratman knows that Humanity barely has a clue about what lives deep below the waves all that they knew at the time of their mission was that biodiversity is high in the depths of the Clarion clipperton Zone some experts suspect that despite the adverse conditions steep below the

Surface there could be greater species diversity than even on land It’s possible that Tanya stratman had brought a previously unknown species upon deck honestly I’m not sure if this is a new species that’s why we’re freezing it right now at -80 degrees so that my colleagues at The senkenberg Institute can determine if it is a new species

We’ve just discovered or if it’s only one still unfamiliar to me it’s possible that this one only lives in the deep sea or I just don’t know it yet It was a Time of Wonder and joy aboard the island Pride far away on the islands of Cape Verde in the Atlantic the conservationists of lantuna were celebrating their small success in summer during the nighttime sea turtles come on Shore to lay their eggs they usually begin reproducing at the age of 20. That’s when the females find their way back to the beaches where they were hatched to lay their own eggs if they’re lucky they’ll find sand to dig a hole for their nest The team from lantuna is spending every night there for three weeks they find the nests dig them up and take them to their protected Nursery there are too many Nest Predators both human and animals alike to let nature take its course without the help of the conservationists

The turtles would have an even greater struggle to survive given their shrinking habitat there are moments of Wonder every night now at the small Nursery baby turtles are emerging digging their way out of their sand nests it’s a time of joy and satisfaction for Anna and her team well it’s happening

So you can see the baby turtles so now we are going to test to see how strong they are born foreign measured and counted precise records are kept and then they’re given a little head start The Offspring are carefully carried close to the Sea so they won’t fall prey

To anything or anyone on the beach thank you and now we release them yes we are going to visit them good luck Without the dedication of conservationists like Anna and her team things would be much worse for the turtles in the Atlantic Ocean around Cape Verde Um really happy it’s always an emotional moment and also a moment of hope we hope that in 15 20 years those little turtles will return to lay their eggs so this give us a strength and the hope to continue this conservation award Um but Anna says there is much more to be done to improve the condition of the oceans the stripping of sand from so many beaches has also affected marine life just off the coast food sources for fish have dwindled and there are fewer opportunities to spawn the fishes catch

Less and less and need to go ever farther out but Anna is proud of the fact that fishing here is sustainable it’s all about people’s individual needs rather than industrial bottom trawling and hooked lines that extend for kilometers there’s no bycatch either This boat takes in its Catch of the Day a tuna this size is enough to feed several families fishing like this doesn’t harm ocean biodiversity but that’s not the case everywhere on the high seas according to the UN food and agriculture organization one third of all fish stocks are overfished

Technically sophisticated large fishing fleets are scouring the ocean’s bare catch quotas set by politicians often miss their target a huge Fleet of Chinese industrial fishing vessels Works Around the World Around the Clock at sea for months they load their catches directly onto cargo ships many billions of dollars in subsidies

Fuel this harmful plundering of the oceans Chinese ships like this one are specially designed to catch squid the animals are attracted by powerful lights at night these boats Supply the waters mainly in the Indian Ocean or work off South America these images taken from space show light sources off the coast of Patagonia evidence of Chinese ships hunting for squid

The authorities are all but powerless there are a few ways to monitor the waters and even if there are countries have no Authority outside of their own territorial Waters Greenpeace was monitoring the Indian Ocean for months in the summer of 2021 they were there to document overfishing and illegal fishing

In the meantime they’ve gone back to using drift Nets they were banned 30 Years Ago by the UN but just a few months ago in the Indian Ocean we were able to document kilometer long Nets being deployed these are known as death walls very thin barely perceptible filaments often made of nylon

Hang for kilometers deep in the ocean kilometers they’re left a long time and taken everything that drifts along in the water they don’t only net their target species such as tuna or swordfish they stare Turtles dolphins whales sharks rays and many many other animals that are not on their lists at all and

Ultimately only go overboard as unwanted bycatch The campaign was evaluated at Greenpeace headquarters the activists have known for a long time that life on the high seas is like life in the Wild West illegal fishing overfishing and destructive fishing practices continue to threaten ocean life the latest figures from the UN food and agriculture organizations say quite

Clearly about 60 of the world’s food fish stocks are exploited and exhausted to their biological limit and around 30 or 32 are severely depleted that means more is being removed from ecosystems more fish are being fished in the oceans than can replenish themselves biologically and naturally Too many fish are taken and stocks cannot renew this also affects the fishes like here in the western Baltic Sea an old father and son fishing company located north of Keel is looking for ways to secure the future of Germany’s small-scale fishes a study has shown that Cod has almost

Disappeared and Herring is threatened the staple catches of the Baltic have been overfished for years as a result the EU has almost completely banned the catch of both fish species Father and Son Maya are able to continue because they’ve switched to different species and fish sustainably we’ve always been Fishers you could

Almost say since time immemorial it’s our life’s passion and the best job there is look around Freedom beautiful weather today wonderful no stress no annoying people Actually there’s not much to laugh about small-scale fishes on the Baltic are becoming a rare species themselves the Myers want to keep working but in their own way with Gill Nets I’m one of the longest serving Fishers here on board and as long as I’m allowed

To Pilot a boat with permission from the Fishers trade Association I’ll be at the helmet the Myers also but in the last 20 years they noticed the stocks dwindling numbers of covered in the western Baltic are so low some scientists doubt they will ever recover that’s why years ago the Maya shifted to

Only catching fish that are still relatively plentiful this is Place everybody knows it it’s got a white side and it’s annoyingly slippery as smooth as an eel it is there should be the fist so and in it goes we also use a beeping device by the way to ward off porpoises

It’s quite soft now yes yeah there’s one here and one at the end they work off each other there’s got to be one every 200 meters and they scare off the porpoises so they don’t swim into the Nets the Myers have committed themselves to fishing sustainably and taking only as

Much as they need to earn a living nevertheless they still struggle with EU regulations it’s too thin there’s no Flesh on it what are we going to do with it why should we take it with us I just don’t get it and we have gloves on the fish

Have nothing this law applies to fishing with trawlers it says we have to take everything we catch so it’s counted towards the quota because they’re supposedly dead anyway and that’s the basis for this law we’re supposed to take it but we won’t because why should I kill it honestly

It’s such nonsense at least for us the problem with this law is that fishing with a trawler is equated with Gill net fishing that’s complete idiocy in my eyes for the few fish we catch that are too small like this one here we just don’t take them we refuse to do so

We’re trying to avoid netting smaller fish by using larger Mash our mesh size is 10 larger than required so we bring in good quality significantly larger fish our profession is really getting a criminal reputation that can’t be right it can’t eat anything that’s good news now things are about to get bloody

Industrial trawling led to this large international fishing boats have plied the Baltic for years taking what the sea had to offer sustainable fishing and selling close to the consumer became the Maya’s motto on the fish from quarter website now I’m riding on fish from Qatar that

We want to sell our fish right away what do we have we have mackerel we have turbot and we have place we won’t make 10 o’clock anymore so we’ve got to change that first eleven to one that just takes a few seconds then it’s up on the fish farm Kota site right away

Now it’s reloading and there’s a new address that’s where we’re about to go to sell mackerel turbot place until 1pm and in it goes yeah doing the right thing is easy buy what you can get where you live that leaves us with potatoes and cabbage but that’s

How we save the world that’s the point we don’t need huge container ships do we have one right now there’s one coming up behind us they distribute all the junk from around the world but we just eat what’s here and it’s a wonderful product honestly Foreign s saving the world if everyone behaved like this the oceans might not be in crisis and neither would the fishing profession After the second world war there were 3 000 fishing businesses on the Baltic coast of schlesby Holstein now only a few dozen small Fishers are left who are trying to survive via sustainable Gill net fishing large industrial fishing boats with huge Nets continue to fish as if there were no issue The Myers have been Fishers for eight Generations they don’t know whether it will go on but if it does then like this we need a mackerel and two place yes that’s very nice and two places yes medium size and that would be all for us all right then that’s 13 euros

Sometimes it really does happen that we have no fish for three or four days when the wind blows across the Baltic and we can’t go out you just have to accept it we’re not a supermarket we can only deliver when we catch something if the fish are threatened so too is the

Health of the oceans but overfishing is just one reason why the oceans are in crisis unbridled over exploitation is threatening the Seas Alexandra Cousteau laments that in the end we will just harm ourselves as well as our environment the granddaughter of Ocean Explorer Jacques Cousteau knows the oceans cover

71 of the planet produce half of our oxygen and absorb huge amounts of CO2 right now we still have the opportunity to change how we fish to put a moratorium on deep sea mining we have an opportunity to expand ocean farming in a way that’s regenerative with seaweed forests growing around the

World and the restoration of seagrass beds and mangroves and salt marshes we still have a chance to do that in a way that will actually rebuild our oceans and and bring that life back Alexander Cousteau has set up a foundation called Ocean’s 2050 and its aim is to restore ocean habitats she and

Other ocean conservation Advocates believe the thoughtless disrespectful exploitation of marine life needs to end we must make a clear change of course towards Marine protection and away from exploitations it goes without saying we use resources from the sea we need them but it has to be at a regulated environmentally sustainable level we

Must prevent all the damage we can it’s actually extremely late now already in some cases we’re five minutes before doomsday and in others five minutes after arrival one can only hope that our oceans also have a future because our future as humans depends on it directly we are still unacquainted with the

Depths we’re only just beginning to understand what goes on deep below the surface and the significance these processes have for life on land the energy transition must take place climate change must be stopped but is commercial mining in the deep sea worth the risk you know we do need a colossal amount of

Metal to achieve that and that metal needs to come from somewhere and by all means recycling is hugely important and can play a role but it isn’t enough to get us there for decades to come and so new sources of metal will be needed and for GSR we you know we’re aiming for

2028 as the earliest date for commercial production after a six-week Expedition exploring the deep sea The Voyage of the island pride has slowly come to an end the scientists did a lot of testing measuring observing and thinking even if many final test results can only be revealed after evaluation in Labs

Back home the researchers already knew that the harvesting of the seabed was just about Unstoppable I believe it will come at some point s we want development we want growth we want a high standard of living and I think that should be the case for the entire world population for that we will

Need metals from that perspective the companies here will always continue continue to research and try to tap into this treasure here um if us Europeans don’t do it maybe then people in Asia will but I do believe that at some point the time will come when this mining will take place

Those are the trade-offs that we actually have to make as a society is it worth it to us to destroy our great sustainable system to indulge in this continued long-term damage that goes way beyond our generation is it worth it to us to wreck that we’re talking about

Huge areas of seabed if we just continue on with our consumption of these metals and don’t achieve a sustainable cyclical economy we will have completely destroyed deep sea areas like the entire Clarion clipperton Zone within 50 to 100 years we’re talking about an area that’s three thousand by a thousand kilometers a

Gigantic area the size of Europe that we’ve destroyed and you need to keep that in mind um Thank you Foreign

Video “How humans are exploiting the oceans | DW Documentary” was uploaded on 06/08/2023 by DW Documentary Youtube channel.