Debmarine Namibia Benthic Environmental Monitoring Programme
Debmarine Namibia conduct the world’s largest offshore diamond mining operation. Understanding the impacts of mining-related disturbance to the seabed is key in meeting the company's environmental standards. Since 2013, Anchor Environmental Consultants have conducted an extensive annual benthic sampling campaign for Debmarine within the Atlantic 1 Mining Licence Area on the southern Namibian continental shelf. Natural variability in benthic communities is characterised, whilst differences between mined and un-mined sites are investigated following a rigorous “BACI” experimental design. Survey techniques include the use of a Van Veen grab, sediment and water quality instruments (CTD profiler and Niskin rosette water sampler), manned submersible surveys, drop camera and benthic tow camera systems. The careful collection, preservation, identification and curation of samples together with the recording of physical parameters and rigorous statistical analysis has resulted in one of the most comprehensive time-series datasets on benthic marine habitats in the region.