A REGIONAL training workshop is in progress in Nadi where the focus of discussions is the environmental impact of deep-sea mineral mining in the Pacific.
Hosted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, the forum will also identify, document and address concerns about the potential impact of deep-sea mining activities.
Despite the fact that deep-sea mining activities have not started yet in the Pacific, one of the expected outcomes of the week-long workshop is the development of a robust process for strategic planning and environmental impact assessments before mining activities start.
SPREP's director general David Sheppard said there was a critical need for more baseline environmental data to be collected to enable Pacific countries to ensure informed decision- making and responsible management of deep-sea mineral resources.
"SPREP as the environmental agency is committed to partnering with SPC and SOPAC to try to bring more environmental information to the table," he said.
"But the companies themselves need to allocate money for independent scientific studies of the biodiversity and the environment in the deep sea."
The workshop began yesterday and ends on Friday.