Julie Packard

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A diamond-mining ship off Namibia’s coast last year suctioning sediment from the seabed.Credit Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The rush to exploit the riches of the deep ocean and seafloor is beginning. As pollution, overfishing and climate change sap the productivity of surface waters, many countries and companies are scouting new territory deeper down. This presents a threat the deep ocean has never faced.

Vast, dark and largely unexplored, these overlooked parts of the oceans are rich in marine life, gems, metals, minerals and oil. Stretching from 650 to 3,200 feet below the surface, the mesopelagic — known as the twilight zone because there is so little sunlight — is the first stop for deep ocean exploitation.

With an estimated 10 billion metric tons of marine life, including fish, shrimp and squid, these depths offer a seemingly endless bounty.…  Seguir leyendo »