These issues are explored across two streams
1. Ocean Movement as Bycatch
A speculative adventure that imagines the ocean’s shifting energetic qualities and turbulence levels from the more abundant and biodiverse seas of the 18th century to today’s ocean. Declines in large marine animal populations are particularly notable and result from the excessive fisheries and whaling regimes that helped build private wealth and powerful Western economies. The loss of energy and turbulence from the ocean because of these exploitations can be understood as potential bycatch of the fisheries regime. Historic marine ecological datasets document staggering numbers of fish and whales populations extirpated from the ocean over decades and centuries of fishing and whaling. At the same time, marine biologists have turned their attention to the collective contributions of energy to the ocean by different marine animals. Bringing this material together can highlight how overfishing potentially contributes to a less dynamic ocean. What else can be revealed by attuning to conditions of material embodiment and the relational nature of turbulence; or how marine animal energy is implicated both in ocean dynamics and extractive regimes?
2. The disorientations of seabed mining
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) recently concluded another consultative session that nudges the seabed exploitation regulations closer to completion. The ISA is explicitly mandated under the UN Convention for the Laws of the Sea to develop seabed mining–its jurisdiction covers almost half of the surface of the planet. Scientists, communities, lawyers and broader publics are concerned that too little is known of the deep ocean and that seabed mining ought to be stopped or at least stayed, pending more information. Concerns about the potential ecological harms associated with the sediment plumes and the destruction of seabed and vent communities are well widely understood. Seabed mining will indeed terraform the seabed, flattening hydrothermal vents and ridges, and removing vast fields of manganese nodule assembles and their communities. Less understood are the potential energetic and sonic dimensions of these removals and violences. In particular, how might the energetic and sonic dimensions of more-than-human constituents and topographies function as navigational guides for marine communities. Combined with the decades-long noise pollution of extractive machinery, might the terraforming of the seafloor create a more disoriented ocean?
For an overview of the impacts of seabed mining in the Pacific Ocean watch the video ‘Blue Peril.’ It presents a disturbing picture of the far-reaching impacts of deep sea mining for Pacific Island communities with Hawaii and Kiribati predicted to be in the firing line.
Heated water spewing out of a hydrothermal vent